So far in 2005 Toyota seems to be repeating BAR's "zero to hero" performance of last season and technical director Mike Gascoyne believes the regulation changes for 2005 have played a big part. Jarno Trulli has twice been second on the podium, in...
So far in 2005 Toyota seems to be repeating BAR's "zero to hero" performance of last season and technical director Mike Gascoyne believes the regulation changes for 2005 have played a big part. Jarno Trulli has twice been second on the podium, in Malaysia and Bahrain, which is a big improvement on the previous results Toyota has achieved.
"We were undoubtedly helped by the regulation change, there's no doubt about that," said Gascoyne, according to Reuters. "It levelled the playing field so that instead of having to catch up, everyone was starting from the same level."
"And we did as good a job as the top teams. If the regulations hadn't changed, the top teams would have been ahead. We'd have moved above some people but not to the level we are."
Ferrari's dominance of recent years has taken a blow so far, with the scarlet team lying sixth in the constructors' standings after three races. It would be unwise to write the Scuderia off but as Gascoyne pointed out, success comes and goes.
"Formula One has always been cyclical, teams get it right and then they drop off," he commented. "I think you are just seeing the result of that. There were teams that were coming up, Toyota have probably come from nowhere but Renault was building up, and you've just seen the results of that."
So is Ferrari's stranglehold on the sport finally relinquishing its grip? It's a hard call to make but Gascoyne thinks the Scuderia's struggles are no bad thing.
"They've got a lot of work to do," he said of the Maranello squad. "It's good for Formula One. They will do it and be very competitive this year, there's no doubt. They will win races and they'll be strong. But they won't be dominant."
As for Trulli, who has done Toyota proud with his performances in 2005, Gascoyne thinks the Italian is proving his potential. "I think Jarno matured as a driver last year," he said. "He always had the one-lap pace but people said he doesn't have the race pace or he's inconsistent."
Trulli has made his point that his one flying lap speed can hold for a race. His drives the last two events were outstanding and he gave Toyota its first ever podium finish at Sepang, then matched it at Sakhir. But can he go the distance?
Gascoyne declared that initially in 2004 Trulli was dominant over Renault teammate Fernando Alonso and "blew him away" in the early races. Perhaps, but Trulli faded rapidly faded in the latter half of that year and eventually was let go by Renault before the end of the season.