The ever-underachieving Toyota F1 team will be racing its new TF104B chassis with an uprated engine at the German Grand Prix. But are they wise to rush the new package into competition?
The ever-underachieving Toyota F1 team will be racing its new TF104B chassis with an uprated engine at the German Grand Prix this weekend. But are they wise to rush the new package into competition?
Toyota has had a tough season to date. The Cologne-based team has scored points only at the Monaco and United States grands prix, and both times it was largely because front-running teams had mechanical trouble or accidents.
But the team is confident that recent improvements will produce a much-needed leap in performance. Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis tested the TF104B at Jerez last week, but with the car being so new, the team was unable to assess the performance gain. The German Grand Prix will therefore become something of an extended test session for the squad, as they work to optimise and understand the new car’s characteristics.
"We used last week's test in Jerez to shake down the chassis of the new TF104B car. Most of the parts that make a difference to the lap time will appear for the first time this weekend,” Toyota F1 chassis director Mike Gascoyne said. “The car has an upgraded aero package, as well as a substantially repackaged chassis with lower weight and centre of gravity."
The team originally planned to introduce the new specification RVX-04 engine at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, but Toyota engine director Luca Marmorini said: “We have pulled out all the stops to introduce the new version three races earlier than planned. We expect a performance increase of around two per cent from the new engine. The TF104B, as a chassis-engine package, should be a good performance gain for Toyota".