Toyota launch transcript

Toyota TF105 Launch Transcript Saturday 8 January 2005 Master of Ceremony: Ladies and gentlemen, a very big, warm welcome to all on behalf of Panasonic and the Formula 1 racing team. It is really great to see you here. As far as Panasonic Toyota...

Toyota TF105 Launch Transcript
Saturday 8 January 2005

Master of Ceremony: Ladies and gentlemen, a very big, warm welcome to all on behalf of Panasonic and the Formula 1 racing team. It is really great to see you here. As far as Panasonic Toyota are concerned, this is the first full launch of the 2005 season and we're looking forward, later on, to unveiling the TF105. But first we are going to talk to the key players in the Toyota Formula 1 racing squad for about half an hour in here. And first of all I'd like to talk to the big bosses who work alongside each other and we're going now to welcome the team principal, Tsutomu Tomita, and the president of Toyota Motorsport, John Howett...

Tsutomu Tomita, Chairman and Team Principal Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
Photo by Toyota Racing.

Good morning gentlemen. Now, Mr Tomita, I'm going to read a quote of yours: "the biggest lesson from 2004" was that you learned "not to take anything for granted and use the disappointing 2004 overall results as a springboard for greater things". So what can we expect to learn today about the improvements both to the car and your organisation?

Tstutomu Tomita: Yes, indeed we are very disappointed and frustrated about last year and when we got back from Melbourne to Cologne we started restructuring the organisation and the approach to making the car to create a much quicker car for this year. And we focused our energies on the aerodynamic field -- the accuracy of measurement from testing in the wind tunnel and the correlation between the model and the actual car. Therefore we are very confident about having a much more competitive car this year.

MC: OK, you are very confident of having a much more competitive car this year. Now, you say, quite rightly, that your team is very special. Why is it so special?

TT: I think this is because of the one-roof system of covering the engine and the chassis in the same factory. To be honest it was a very difficult decision in 1999 because we had to make a much bigger structure for this purpose. But I still think it is the best way to make a shortcut to the goal.

MC: A very brave move, but as you say you think it will be a shortcut and eventually will work in your favour. Now, I have to ask you, what is your aim for the team for 2005?

TT: It is to score a point every weekend with consistency through the season. And, if possible, of course we want to be on the podium if circumstances allow.

MC: Great, thank you very much indeed Mr. Tomita, who we'll see later. Let's turn to John Howett now. John, all of us here feel to a degree that Formula 1 is in turmoil -- late regulations, questions about the qualifying... Will it be possible for you all to go racing with a bit more order in our lives?

John Howett: Firstly happy new year to everybody! I don't really agree that Formula 1 is in complete turmoil. Toyota does a lot of studies of the market and what's happening with Formula 1 and our information really shows that Formula 1 is still fighting with football and athletics to be the number 1 sport worldwide. It is growing on a global basis at around 5% per year. So there is still a lot to be proud of and excited about around Formula 1. I think also on the political side, if I can use that term, there's a clear intention among many teams to find constructive solutions towards items like competing in the British and French grands prix and also in terms of reducing costs and testing, so I think that sometimes we denigrate ourselves. Instead we should see that our cup is more than half full. We just need to keep working to make the other half positive.

MC: But you are here for technology transfer, for prestige and obviously Toyota to sell cars and for your millions of fans around the world. Now a lot of those fans believe that the show should be improved. Do you think that Toyota could make a contribution to improving the Formula 1 show?

JH: I think there are two levels. If I start with the political level, to me what matters in particular is to try to ask people to focus not on their short-term self-interest but the long-term future of Formula 1. For example, we believe that Formula 1 needs manufacturers. At the same time it needs small teams such as Jordan and Minardi. But we don't believe that that is inconsistent to coexist. And, likewise, we believe that we do need to reduce costs but at the same time we want a technological challenge. Again we don't think it's impossible to find a future solution. So I think that in that context our key role is to lobby and ask people to not be selfish and consider the future big picture of Formula 1. In the short term, our job has just got to be more competitive and make it more exciting in terms of racing so we're working hard every day. That's our task.

MC: I think that's very important because a lot of the media feel that the teams are only interested in themselves. So that's a very important point. Do you think that with the new regulations, you and Toyota can save money?

JH: I think that the two-race engine rule is definitely positive and it is clear that in terms of variable costs we save money. That's why we are able to supply a second team. And there are other alternatives. If we can get the testing reduction in place, that will take fixed cost out of our business and put more value where the customer sees it -- on the track at race weekends.

MC: Now you are supplying Jordan as well. Is that going to be a help or a hindrance to your efforts?

JH: Well firstly we did it because we felt it's necessary to support the smaller teams in Formula 1. We said that if we had two-race engines and testing was reduced, we'd do it, and we've done it. And we'd like some of the other manufacturers to follow that leadership and support by following the same action. The next area really from our side is to look at how we can make a cooperative relationship work and make Panasonic Toyota Racing more competitive. That's really where we are now.

MC: But one of the things you've all been doing to make that work is restructuring the factory, the processes. How is that going?

JH: I think we've got the team in the right level. We've still got a long way to go in terms of improving but I'm confident the changes we've made are right and we're in a position to build from. The point I would like to say is that in any intensively competitive field, every organisation has to question what it does because it has to get better and more competitive every day, so we've got a long way to go and we have to face that fact. But we have a good solid foundation now in place to be a great grand prix team in the future to come.

MC: So what are your own personal aims for Panasonic Toyota for 2005?

JH: Simply to have the most competitive season and I'm optimistic about that -- that's my first ambition. The second one is to continue the work to make sure we do become a great grand prix team worthy of competing at the top level of our sport as soon as possible.

MC: You both must be looking forward to the battles that we could have between Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli?

JH: We're really delighted to have them. I think we've got a dream team, with Olivier and Ricardo also behind. We provide equal equipment and if we can see them fighting we're more than happy. It's good clean fun and may the best man win. They are both talented. Let's hope they are racing towards the front with two Toyota cars.

MC: Is there anything you would like to add, John?

JH: I'd just like to take the opportunity to say we've been really shocked by the recent disaster in the Indian Ocean. Many of you joined us last year at our factory for the launch. We never normally open it to the public, but as a result of the Tsunami we've decided to make that available to the Red Cross in Germany on January 23. We will charge ?30 a head for entry and we will give that money to the Red Cross to reconstructing the area. We will give you more information but if you'd like to put energy behind that, we'd like to get as many people as possible to come to the factory and we'll give all the money to that foundation. Thank you very much.

MC: Thank you very much. Thank you very much Mr. Tomita.

Now I would like to welcome the technical director of chassis Mike Gascoyne and the technical director of engine Luca Marmorini. Welcome...

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director Chassis Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
Photo by Toyota Racing.

MC: Mike, the regulations were so late. How on earth could you get on with designing? Was it guesswork?

Mike Gascoyne: Although the regulations were confirmed very late, actually we'd been discussing them in the technical group for some time. We started work in detail in the wind tunnel in July and we already had a tentative set of regulations at that point. Luckily they were the regulations that were confirmed. So although it was undoubtedly very late...

MC: ...No inside information?

MG: ...None whatsoever, but it didn't really affect us. If the package had been changed at the last minute, it would have been very serious but we were able to do the work and were happy with what we achieved.

MC: You and Luca brought out a B-spec car last year then ended up having to freeze its development. Why was that?

MG: We wanted to develop that car until the end of the year and make more progress with it. At the time we launched the 104B, that was exactly when the regulations changed. Obviously in preparing for this coming year, the more resources we put into the new car, the better. So we decided to freeze the 104B, meaning we wouldn't have the results we could have had. But it does mean that the car we're unveiling here and the car that you'll see in Melbourne will be more competitive, so that's what we've aimed at.

MC: What were the main weaknesses of last year's car and how have you incorporated changes into the 2005 car?

MG: We've always been very open about the weaknesses of the car -- the aerodynamics especially were not as good as they needed to be for a competitive car (we knew that from the wind-tunnel data). But we put a significant effort into putting that right, not on the track but in the factory, in the methods we used in the wind tunnel. That work took about nine months but we did that work and now the car you see this year shows the results of that.

MC: What are the key features we should be looking out for after the car is unveiled?

MG: In some respects it will be, obviously, a car built for the new regulations so you'll see some aerodynamic differences. But one of the very significant things for us is the mechanical package. It will be a very different car in Melbourne. What you see here, although it's all new, was again developed for the start of the season.

MC: On the other hand, it might be so quick, no one can catch it at all and you leave it as it is?

MG: No, you just make it quicker.

MC: The new regulations: when you go into the wind tunnel "shock horror we've lost nearly 28 percent of downforce!". How much of that have you got back?

MG: We don't talk numbers and we wouldn't do that...

MC: Go on...

MG: It wasn't really a shock because it was what the rules were designed to do. We wanted to reduce downforce and so the rule package was a sensible package. Obviously it's my job as the designer to ensure we get around that and we don't want to talk numbers but my staff and I are very pleased.

MC: Other teams have a different solution. They have hybrid cars: bits of new engine, bits of old car... and close to the start of the new season before introducing the new cars. You have the brand new Toyota car. Is that an advantage?

MG: It's an advantage and disadvantage. If you bring out the car early, you have more time to run it on the track. Obviously you want to make the car mechanically reliable to launch the car as soon as possible. Aerodynamically you want as much time as possible to develop and design - you want to launch the car late. We've solved that by launching the car early so that we can run it in the coming test and ensure that we've got a reliable car for Melbourne. But we will totally re-bodywork the car for Melbourne so we'll have the latest possible release dates for the aerodynamic package. That's actually the best of both worlds. It also means you have to make more bits, but that's what you do to be competitive.

MC: You have a very strong driver line-up indeed. You've worked with both of these drivers before. Naturally they'll want to beat each other too but how well will they work together for Toyota?

MG: One of the most exciting things about Toyota this year is its driver line up, not just in terms of the two race drivers but also our test drivers Olivier and Ricardo who stayed with us. We're very pleased that after deciding to retire from racing, we've retained Olivier, who has one of the best reputations as a test driver. Ricardo, with his racing experience, there's no better guy to have in the third car on Fridays. And of course in Ralf and Jarno, we've got 2 of the quickest drivers, proven race winners, guys I've worked with before. I think together they'll make a very good line up. It is one of the things that motivates us -- the workforce -- to know we've got that driver line-up.

MC: And a big part of today... Let's turn now to Luca Marmorini. Some statistics for you: the youngest team on the grid, three seasons, 51 grand prix, only four engine failures. That's Luca and his team's brilliant work. Congratulations. But this is a big challenge. Last year you had to produce an engine went from 400km to 800km. Now you've been asked to go to 1500km. How did you go about designing an engine to do that?

Luca Marmorini: We were able to benefit from the process we put in place last year. We knew it would take time so we started early and we used part of the 2004 race season to homologate and produce parts for the extended reliability.

MC: We all think if you've got to build an engine, it's got to be very strong with big thick cylinder walls and con-rods and pistons from a tractor. And it's going to be very heavy. Is that the case?

LM: Our target was to reduce engine weight, but to keep the same performance as the end of the 2004 season. The lower part of the engine has been optimised but the concept is very similar to the older engine. The upper part of the engine has been completely redesigned. The weight reduction has not been huge but together with Mike we agreed to give priority to the engine installation and stiffness of the assembly. In terms of performance we are confident we will start in Melbourne with something more than our end performance last year.

MC: It's got to last for two races. But does that mean that, according to FIA wishes, you will actually save money?

LM: We think that the extension of engine life, together with the reduction of testing days will bring down costs because we will definitely build fewer engines. But together with this we need stability of rules because any change of rules means development costs for us.

MC: Next year there is potential for V8 2.4 litre engines. That means you will have to start designing it this year. Surely this will be a distraction for your engine team?

LM: It is not a potential distraction. Next year, according to regulations, a V8 engine will exist. From a design point of view our V8 has already been finalised and parts are already being manufactured. Of course this is a lot of work on top of our normal work because we have to develop this engine together with a racing engine.

MC: How have Toyota production methods -- like the 'Toyota Way' which Toyota Motor Corporation employs on a worldwide basis --helped you internally in the factory? Has it helped you with cohesion between your department and Mike's department?

LM: With Mike everything has worked very well since the beginning. We are extremely busy now in our prospective areas. Thanks to our daily discussion there is a really good synergy between our departments and I'm sure we will produce results.

MC: In engine installation you can see the cohesion. That's very important, isn't it?

LM: If you could look under the engine cover you would see that the TF105 purely in terms of internal engine installation is a big step forward compared to the past. This is the result of our joint work.

MC: Mike has said that Toyota will always be under huge pressure to deliver results. We expect your car and engine to be among the best. But can you beat them?

LM: I cannot say. We have done the best job we can. We are confident that next year will be a better year for Toyota than 2004. We will know in Melbourne if we can beat the other teams.

MC: We think it's going to go just like a train. So what's it going to be? TGV? Maglev?

LM: The Shinkansen will come later.

MC: Of course, it has to be the bullet train. Thank you very much Luca, thank you Mike.

Let's get to the last part: the strength of the drivers. They are winners, pole-setters, with 257 grand prix between them, 28 podiums, seven wins... Please welcome Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli...

A fresh start and a brand new challenge, Ralf. Is that how you see it?

Ralf Schumacher.
Photo by Toyota Racing.

Ralf Schumacher: After a long period with a different team, going to a different place, it is a new challenge -- especially here with all the possibilities you have. This is a great opportunity for me.

MC: After the first test in November and subsequent tests, did you pick up the feeling of a championship winning team in the future?

RS: It's always difficult to tell but I was really surprised the way it went. It was a great feeling to be in the car, to be in the team, to work with them. It took me a day to get into everything and continue with the proper testing. Yes, if you look at it closely, there is the potential but it will take time, obviously.

MC: You've tested different components on the car: the lower downforce, the harder tyres. How much slower on average do you feel that the car may be?

RS: I believe that in Melbourne we may start off a second or second and a half back, but I think there is a fair chance that next season we do similar lap times. It depends on the tyre development but they are doing a really good job. If you look at our long runs already, it's pretty competitive, so Formula 1 is not going to be a lot slower than we are used to seeing it.

MC: Does the car feel more difficult to drive? Does it slide more?

RS: Obviously, because of the lower downforce. But I was surprised how well the Toyota is balanced.

MC: Jarno Trulli is a very strong team-mate. Do you and will you get on together? Will you work well together?

RS: So far, yes we do. I don't see any problem. The two of us know there is a big job to do and that we must work together to achieve the final goal.

MC: A fantastic second race after your comeback: that second place in Japan. Mr Tomita has already said that he hopes for podiums this year. Do you think that's possible?

RS: That is certainly our wish and there is a possibility if everything works to plan. We are pretty optimistic about the new package. Over the next few weeks, before Melbourne, we'll see where we are. If all runs to plan from mid-season, there should be a possibility of being on the podium one or more times.

MC: Being based in Germany can't be bad... 32 nationalities! The odd Englishman: Mike Gascoyne. So perhaps you can help him learn German? He needs to...

RS: He's quite good at German already. That's the good thing for me about having the team in Germany. All of the other nationalities need to learn German. Our meetings are still in English so that keeps my English alive.

MC: Of course the star of Monte Carlo -- a front pole, a fantastic win: Jarno Trulli. A great qualifier, a great racer. You've got to beat this man on your right. A back-to-back winner: it's going to be tough to beat him, isn't it?

Jarno Trulli: Morning everybody and Happy New Year! I'm very happy that Ralf is my team-mate. I prefer a very strong and competitive one. Together we can do an extremely good job. The team must develop and get to the top. I was really impressed when he joined me at the end of the season and I think we'll make a very strong couple for this year.

MC: You've already started with Toyota -- and you took 6th on the grid, which equalled their best, in Japan. Are you happy with the start that you've made?

JT: So far, yes. I found a much better team and car than I expected. There's a lot of work to do, which we've already started. We hope to sort things out during the winter testing. The team has done an extremely good job over the winter in developing the wind tunnel. And very soon we will find out.

MC: The team has strong potential, as John has already said, but do they have the will to win?

JT: Both Ralf and I chose to join this team because they are putting a lot of effort into Formula 1. And I believe they have got a very great potential. With time and a bit of experience, I'm sure we'll get to the top.

MC: You have people, like Mike Gascoyne, whom you have worked with before. How much will that help?

JT: The team in general has been extremely nice and I have had a very warm welcome. Mike and others on the team will not only help me but others to settle in and understand about Formula 1. Mike Gascoyne has already designed several winning cars and for sure together with another very good engineer, Luca Marmorini, and others, I'm sure we can do a really good job.

MC: Now we talked about the harder tyres. You are only going to have three sets to last through the qualifying race. Won't that suit your faster driving style when you've got to nurse the tyres?

JT: I think so. We will find out during the next few weeks. We all have to change our mentality and driving style a little. We have to get used to the car very quickly. It will be an interesting challenge.

MC: Toyota will be a top three team, but how long do you think it will take?

JT: Toyota can become a very top team soon. It is a question of time and experience. No-one knows how long it is going to take but in the last few months I have seen that they have changed their approach. Mike has given a lot of good input. There is a good winning-team mentality. It would be nice if we could start the season reasonably, scoring some points. And from there build a better car, and get, step by step, to the top.

MC: Can I ask you a final question? You are two top drivers. Does that mean you'll be able to put more pressure on the team to push harder?

JT: So far from my experience in Formula 1 with a strong team-mate, like Ralf is, it is better for the team for the drivers and the team because we all know that each member of the team, whether an engineer or the guy working in the factory, is putting maximum effort into the project to win. I think this helps a lot the mentality of the overall team.

MC: ...Lastly please welcome Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta. Everyone knows you did a fantastic job when you developed the McLaren. Then you wanted to race again and you did for BAR and Toyota. Now you decided to stop yourself and be a test driver again -- why that decision?

Olivier Panis: Because I'm getting old!! No, I'm joking. I've done this job for a long time. I'm a racer and when I race, I want to win races. I did once. I was pleased to participate in the challenge at Toyota. We did a lot. We worked very hard together to do the best possible. This year I've been thinking differently because, as I said, I've been racing for a very long time. I want to win again but I think I need time with Toyota, which is why I spoke to the top management about their thoughts and to find a way to continue to do something together, and we found the way. I like the technical viewpoint and with the experience I have I am giving my best to gain, in a different way, success with Toyota, helping Ralf and Jarno.

MC: As the third driver, you still need to be on standby. Anything can happen and you may have to race again. Is that a problem?

OP: No, I signed a contract. First of all I like to train. I need to push myself hard, to stay fit for two more years, which I will do. If something happens I need to be ready, but hopefully nothing will happen to the two.

MC: 19 races? A lot of racing going on. They have said they trust both of you to make important decisions. But that puts more pressure on you.

OP: Everybody trusts us, but also we need to be very close with the engineer, because if there is a way to improve, we need to do our best. Everyone knows each other well and I think everyone trusts each other in Toyota.

MC: Ricardo, is it good to be back? Friday testing for you but also big decisions because just 3 sets of tyres, 2 types... a lot is down to you, isn't it?

Ricardo Zonta: Testing on Friday is very special for me, driving on the racetracks and also now having only two sets of tyres and it is an important decision for the weekend --the tyres and also the set-up.

MC: I think you like the spirit and feeling in the Toyota team, don't you?

RZ: Of course. I am in my third year at Toyota and I think this is the year for results.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Ricardo Zonta , Mike Gascoyne
Teams McLaren , Toyota Racing , Minardi , Jordan