In an exclusively online ceremony, Toyota took the wraps off their 2009 challenger this morning, named the TF109 and sporting a striking resemblance in livery to the previous seven Toyotas. The Cologne-based team were upbeat about their chances for the upcoming season and spoke of great improvement still over their already improved 2008 form. And like all 2009 cars, the TF109 features the new narrow, high rear wing, the low and wide front wing as well as uninterrupted bodywork.
Jarno Trulli, who has driven for Toyota since the final two races of the 2004 campaign, spoke of optimism over the new car, and although cautious not to get too carried away, hopes the level of improvement we saw from the team in 2008 will continue into the new season.
I am a very confident person and I am always optimistic so again this season I have high hopes, but I know from my experience that whatever I say in the winter doesn’t really count for much when the season starts – the important thing is what we do on the track. Jarno Trulli.
Trulli also turned his attention to the aim of winning his team’s maiden victory, having been already beaten by the younger and much less funded Scuderia Toro Rosso last year. Fellow manufacturers Honda and Renault have also won races in their recent guises, putting the well-funded Toyota effort to shame somewhat.
We have established the foundations and I believe we can build a winning team. In 2008 we made a huge improvement and took a big step in the right direction so I hope now this year we can be a top team. I am confident in my own ability so if I am given a competitive car I know I can deliver the results. Jarno Trulli.
Needless to say, Trulli was in an optimistic and vibrant mood today. Although as soon as the car hits the track at the upcoming test session, I’m sure he will likely be found sulking in the back of the garage, such is the standard of the experienced Italian driver these days. While hopeful of continued progress though, Trulli was also keen to point out the dramatic changes in technical regulations means judging performance at the moment is very hard.
It is a big change and whenever you make a change like this, it is impossible to predict how it will affect each team.
You can say I am cautiously optimistic. One thing is for sure, there will be bigger gaps between teams next season and bigger fluctuations in performance. Jarno Trulli.
Although it needs to be added, the gaps won’t be that large behind the Trulli-train.
The team bosses weren’t so cautious as Trulli though, stating quite clearly that they want to be fighting for victory. This time last year there was some doubt over the future of the team as the manufacturer chiefs were growing weary of seeing money plowed into the squad with very little results to show. In 2008, the team managed two podiums and a fifth place standing in the constructors championship. The difference between grabbing two podiums and winning is huge though, and Toyota might do well to tone down their goal to something more achievable, like top six qualifying results and regular podiums.
Our target this year is to try to win the first race for Toyota in Formula One. When I took over as Chairman and Team Principal in 2007 I stated my task for the first year would be to observe, for the second year it would be to improve and for the third year and beyond it would be to succeed. This is my third season so it is very clear for me – I want to see us win a race. Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal.
Toyota also spoke of a “very strong future” at their launch, and announced the extension of title sponsor Panasonic until the end of 2012.
Photos © Toyota Motorsport Gmbh.