Toyota first to launch new car 08 Jan 2005
Toyota lifted the covers on their 2005 machine, the TF105, in front of 200 attending journalists and guests at the historic Estacion de Franca railway station in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday.
The Japanese manufacturer, who finished eighth in the 2004 constructors championship, hope the new machine can give them their most competitive season to date in their short three-year Formula One history. "Our ultimate goal is to win in F1," said team principal Tsutomu Tomita, "but we know it takes time. Our target with the TF105 is to make an important step on our way to victory."
Creation of the TF105 has been overseen by Mike Gascoyne and Luca Marmorini, respective technical directors of the chassis and engine departments. The TF105 is the product of a year-long process in which Toyota has focused on adapting to the challenging new technical regulations put in place by the FIA for the 2005 season.
"As soon as we began to get an indication of the likely regulation changes for 2005," explained Gascoyne, "we started to set our targets accordingly. We compromised the development of our TF104B car in the final races of last season in order to try and gain a competitive advantage in 2005."
Toyota said they generally favour the revised technical regulations, which are aimed at further reducing the costs in Formula One racing, whilst making the sport even more appealing to fans around the globe. "All teams have been willing to make compromises in order to assist the future of our sport," said Toyota Motorsport President John Howett. "I hope the changes that have been implemented for 2005 deliver the intended cost reductions, the anticipated improvement in racing and a real increase in value for the spectators and fans. If not, I hope the legislators will be flexible enough to introduce sensible changes in a smooth and appropriate manner."
Toyota has approached the 2005 season by continuing to focus on its internal resources and operations in order to enhance efficiency at its factory in Cologne, Germany. The team now believes that this meticulous approach over the past 12 months will enable it to significantly close the gap to the front-running teams this season.
"We endured a difficult season in 2004," admitted Tomita, "but I firmly believe we have taken appropriate measures in the factory to turn the seemingly negative into tangible positives in 2005. We have made excellent progress in all departments, most notably in the wind tunnel and machining areas. By striving to continuously improve the accuracy of our testing procedures, we are seeing an ever-improving correlation between the factory and the race track, which will permit us to get the maximum performance out of the car during the race weekend. Such progress over a comparatively short period has only been made possible as a result of our initial decision to develop the entire F1 car ourselves under one roof."
Like all the other teams, for 2005, Toyota have had to consider regulatory changes ranging from aerodynamic restrictions (to reduce downforce) to a stipulation that engines must last for two race weekends.
"We have enjoyed quite a smooth transition to the new engine rules," said Luca Marmorini. "We started at a very early stage to develop an engine that was increasingly reliable. During 2004, we began to improve the reliability of specific parts in the engine, and in fact we already used some of these parts in the RVX-04 model. Creating an engine to last somewhere in the region of 1,500 kilometres was an enjoyable and interesting technical challenge. I am confident that the RVX-05 will reflect our excellent in-house technical capabilities."
Also new for 2005 is Toyotas race driver pairing of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher. The duo has 257 grand prix starts between them. Alongside the team's test drivers, Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta, they give the Japanese squad one of the most experienced driver line-ups on the 2005 grid.