Toyota unveiled their 2009 car in innovative fashion on Thursday, as the new TF109 made its world debut in a specially-made, big-screen movie trailer, made available to fans online.
With revisions to the Formula One regulations set to shake up the order, the Japanese team are hoping the TF109 can take them to their first win since entering the sport in 2002…
Work began on the TF109 last October, with the car’s new shape heavily dictated by the FIA’s regulation changes, with wider front wings, narrower rear wings and fewer additional aerodynamic devices.
“Our target this year is to fight to win the first race for Toyota in Formula One,” declared team principal Tadashi Yamashina at Thursday’s launch, a proclamation that comes in light of their improved showing last season, which included two podiums and top-ten starts at 14 of the 18 races.
“After eight years in Formula One we have gained a huge amount of knowledge and improved considerably,” said Toyota Racing President John Howett. “There are many elements of our team which are at the very highest level so the challenge now is to fill any gaps and ensure the entire organisation is performing at the very top. Then we must put all the elements together and deliver the success we are all fighting so hard for.”
Toyota continue with an unchanged driver line-up for 2009. Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were critically-acclaimed co-stars for the team last season and they will again be supported by Japanese reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi.
“I still have plenty I want to achieve in Formula One but my dream now is to win the first race for Toyota,” said 34-year-old Italian Trulli.“I have now spent longer racing for Toyota in Formula One than any other driver and I have seen the huge progress that has been made since I joined in 2004. It has been a long journey and we have had ups and downs but we have never given up or lost faith.”
Glock, whose Toyota race career began only last season, added: “If you look back at the cars I have been racing for the last five years they have all been quite different, with the 2004 Jordan, then Champ Car, GP2 and the Toyota TF108, and I have been competitive in each of them. That shows how quickly I can adapt to a different car so I don’t have any concerns at all about adjusting to the 2009-style Formula One cars.”
The 2009 changes have presented Toyota and all the Formula One team with a significant design challenge. “This complete programme has been more demanding on our company than any previous new car project I have been involved in,” said Pascal Vasselon, senior general manager (chassis).