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Revised Toyota for Suzuka 03 Oct 2005

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF105. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Friday 30 September 2005. World ©  Hartley/Sutton

Both Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli will have Toyota’s latest TF105B machine at their disposal for the team’s home race in Japan this weekend. The decision to use the updated car was taken following a successful three-day test at Jerez last week.

Despite some teething troubles in previous tests, Toyota are confident they are now on top of the problems and believe the car could boost their chances of a strong result at Suzuka as they look to close the gap to Ferrari in the fight for third place in the constructors’ championship.

"The car felt good,” said Schumacher following the Jerez session. “I think it suits me better and has addressed some of the issues that I had found more difficult with the standard car during the season. That was pleasing and I will be using the car in Japan."

Trulli had been less convinced of the benefits of the TF105B over its predecessor, believing the new car was perhaps less well suited to his driving style. However, after further time in the car in Spain, he now feels racing the new car is the right decision.

“For me the choice was a bit more difficult because I don't necessarily get more out of the car over one lap,” said the Italian. “But, over a long run the car is more consistent, has more potential, and should prove quicker over a race distance. I will go for it also because it is the car that we are going to use in the winter tests and then as a basis for next year."

Introducing a major car revision so late in the season, especially with the added complication of the final two rounds being non-European races, may seem a strange decision, but Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne is positive it’s a risk worth taking.

"There is an inherent risk with all the unknowns involved in two flyaway races, but we feel that fourth place in the constructors’ championship is secure after Brazil and it's unlikely that we will be able to challenge for third,” he said. “So, bearing that in mind, we think it's worth taking the risk and if we get a good result in Japan maybe we might be able to push for third at the final race in Shanghai."

Gascoyne is also convinced that even if something does go wrong, the team have enough spare parts to fall back on, despite being so far from their German headquarters.

"It will be tight but obviously we have the cars that were in Brazil and all the standard parts,” he added. “If we need to revert because of something like accident damage, it will be pretty straightforward."

Toyota currently trail Ferrari by 81 points to 98 in the constructors’ standings. In the drivers’ championship, Trulli is sixth, just two points behind fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, while Schumacher is joint seventh with Rubens Barrichello.