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Toyota kick off 2007 launches 12 Jan 2007

The Toyota TF107 is unveiled. Toyota TF107 Launch, Expo XXI, Cologne, Germany, 12 January 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Toyota TF107 technical detail. Toyota TF107 Launch, Expo XXI, Cologne, Germany, 12 January 2007. World © Sutton. Toyota TF107 technical detail. Toyota TF107 Launch, Expo XXI, Cologne, Germany, 12 January 2007. World © Sutton. Toyota Personnel and drivers (L to R): Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota; Franck Montagny (FRA) Toyota Third Driver and Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota with the new Toyota TF107. Toyota TF107 Launch, Expo XXI, Cologne, Germany, 12 January 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton. Toyota TF107 technical detail. Toyota TF107 Launch, Expo XXI, Cologne, Germany, 12 January 2007. World © Sutton.

Toyota became the first team to unveil their new car on Friday as the wraps came off the TF107 at their German base in Cologne. With it, the Japanese car manufacturer is aiming to capture its maiden Formula One win, having joined the sport back in 2002.

“Our fundamental challenge this year is to get the first victory,” said team principal Tsutomu Tomita. “We announced that a year ago, but we failed to succeed in 2006. And therefore we want to repeat that challenge in 2007.

“I know all the other teams are working very hard, particularly the top three. We have five years experience in F1, but still we are young in comparison with the top teams, therefore we have to be modest about it. But we would like to challenge them.”

The TF107 has been designed by the engineering teams led by Luca Marmorini, Toyota’s senior general manager (engine) and his chassis counterpart, Pascal Vasselon. It will again be driven by the experienced line-up of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, who are joined by new test driver Franck Montagny.

There is very little carryover from the car’s TF106B predecessor in terms of parts and the TF107 features a number of new, key features, including a higher front end and innovative suspension concepts, as well as numerous, more subtle changes.

“It’s pretty extensively changed in terms of basic lay-out,” said team President John Howett. “When we went from the V10 to V8 the back of the engine effectively stayed in the same place, and the chassis and fuel tank filled the space where the front two cylinders of the V10 were. Now we’ve moved to engine forward, and yet worked really hard to still have a big tank. The gearbox is longer, and we will run a seamless shift for the first time.

“Aerodynamics is the big focus, and a lot of the chassis layout has been designed to give better aero opportunity. The whole monocoque concept has been modified in terms of height and how it sits. Before it was quite a low car, now it’s higher. We have improved the suspension, and we have some interesting developments in the pipeline that we hope will give us performance.”

Toyota are looking to recover from a disappointing 2006 campaign, which saw them drop to sixth in the overall standings, having finished fourth the previous year. However, as the only one of the 11 Formula One teams to go into the new season with the same engine, the same tyre partner, and the same two race drivers, they are hoping this high degree of continuity will enable them to be immediately competitive at March’s season opener in Australia.

“We have addressed reliability this year,” Howett added. “And we have resolved issues like the launch system, which we fixed at the end of last season, and which cost us dearly. We’re improving the car, flat out, all the time. So I think we have the potential to win this year, and I’m disappointed that we didn’t deliver it in 2006.”