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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toyota unveil 2009 car

Toyota launched the TF109, and restated its commitment to the sport, in an online movie premier-like ceremony Thursday.

The team is the second to introduce its challenger, built to meet the new 2009 regulations, but team president John Howett said the car was an extension of all it has learned in the past few seasons.

“We have gained a huge amount of knowledge and improved considerably," Howett said. "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's 56 points in 2008 were the most it has scored since 2005, and more than 2006 and 2007 combined. The team is targeting a bigger prize in 2009.

“Our target this year is to fight to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1,” Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina said.

Toyota, like all auto manufacturers, is feeling the economic crunch, but sought to alleviate fears it could follow Honda out of the sport.

“It is vitally important to have a detailed knowledge of what is driving costs, then you need to be able to prioritise the areas which bring value or performance. A lean company must have a culture of waste reduction and constant improvement," Howett said. “Happily, these are all factors which Toyota puts particular emphasis on, even in prosperous economic times, so I am confident we are in good shape.”

Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will be at the wheel again this season when the team lines up on the grid at Melbourne.

“I still have plenty I want to achieve in Formula 1 but my dream now is to win the first race for Toyota,” Trulli said.

Glock, who surged last season with a string of strong performances, doesn't think the new regulations will pose much of a problem this year.

“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,” he explained. “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 1 cars. I am sure the other drivers will adapt quickly as well but I certainly expect to hit the ground running.”
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