New kids on the block Toyota have been the subject of some speculation as to what they can achieve in their debut F1 season: with their huge budget and two experienced, if relatively untried drivers the team would like to think they can be...
New kids on the block Toyota have been the subject of some speculation as to what they can achieve in their debut F1 season: with their huge budget and two experienced, if relatively untried drivers the team would like to think they can be battling it out mid-field in 2002. But Allan McNish is not expecting instant results and is avoiding making any predicitions.
"It's a bit difficult to set goals for this season," he said. "I've seen too many people trip up over that. They (Toyota) have said that in three years they want to be fighting for points, in five years they want to be hopefully fighting for race victories."
Despite general opinion, McNish is cautious about presuming Toyota will be mid-field: "I think it's very naive if anyone looked on it like that," he said, but admitted the team were likely to be off the pace. "Obviously we don't want to do that, ( be off the pace)you want to be as high up as possible. As much as it's a learning year and as much it's a year of development for the team, we do want to achieve as much success as we can and we will be fighting as a whole team as much as we can. It won't sit very nicely if we are sitting on the last row of the grid but if that's the case, that's the case and we've got to develop from there."
Testing figures indicated that Toyota would be uncompetitive but McNish said that lap times were mis-leading. "When we were testing we were testing alone and testing at circuits that effectively had no grip. That was something we were always fighting against, we were on our own and had no reference base. We were also testing things that we wanted to test, not going for the ultimate lap time." He explained.
According to McNish the TF102 race car is much more advanced than the original model the team produced at the beginning of its F1 campagin. "The car we started with was quite a base car, if you like. It was a little heavier, it was one designed to test reliability and test different things on. This one's a little bit more on the edge of the regulations and the edge of performance.Generally the feel about it is a lot more responsive from the chassis, the engine has developed a heck of a lot through the year and there's more to come from now until the end of the season."