Toyota launches TF104 in Cologne

Toyota launches TF104 in Cologne

Panasonic Toyota Racing launched its 2004 challenger at its headquarters in Cologne on January 17th, where the entire TF104 is built under one roof. Newly appointed team principal Tsutomu Tomita, Toyota Motorsport President John Howett, technical...

Panasonic Toyota Racing launched its 2004 challenger at its headquarters in Cologne on January 17th, where the entire TF104 is built under one roof. Newly appointed team principal Tsutomu Tomita, Toyota Motorsport President John Howett, technical directors Mike Gascoyne and Luca Marmorini and other key members of the team presented the car along with drivers Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta.

The new Toyota TF104.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
Tomita, who took over from previous principal Ove Andersson at the beginning of January, said: "Everyone in the team is fully committed to rapid, continuous improvement and teamwork and it is my firm belief that this will allow Panasonic Toyota Racing to make its biggest step forward in 2004. I want to see us achieve improved race results this season and, if conditions are favourable, score our first ever podium position."

Gascoyne, who was previously with Renault, and Marmorini are technical directors for chassis and engine departments respectively and report to Executive Vice-President Toshiro Kurusu. Designer Gustav Brunner and manager of test and race engineering Norbert Kreyer continue in their roles.

"The entire design team has done a very good job on the TF104," said Gascoyne. "It appears to be a solid car, but we will have to wait for testing to see precisely how good it is. 90% of chassis performance is in the car's aerodynamics, and that has been the priority on the TF104."

Brunner added: "We have adopted similar principles for the TF104 race car to the ones we followed when producing the TF103. Using Toyota's philosophy of continuous improvement, the fundamental concept was again that of evolution not a revolution. The TF103 and TF104 may appear visually similar, but we have looked at every single part of the car, studied it, redesigned it and improved it."

Cristiano da Matta, Olivier Panis, Ricardo Zonta and Ryan Briscoe.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
Frenchman Panis and Brazilian da Matta enter 2004 in their second year with Toyota after taking the team to eighth in the constructors' standings in 2003. "On occasions in 2003, we showed what Toyota is capable of," said Panis. "Our race result in Hockenheim and our top three qualifying performances in Indianapolis and Suzuka proved that we could do the job. In 2004, we have to use these achievements as a springboard, to focus on reliability and get the results we deserve. That means plenty of points and a constant progression during the year."

2003 was da Matta's first season in F1, after winning the CART championship, and he believes he learned a lot: "My first season in F1 was a lot of hard work but highly enjoyable. I was hindered by having to learn most of the circuits for the first time, but along with the team, I think I showed my potential. This year will be a different story and I will be on a level playing field to the other drivers, so we should aim for consistency in our performance and to make real progress to the top teams in 2004."

Ricardo Zonta will continue as Toyota's official test and third driver and will be able to participate in the Friday practice sessions on race weekends as he has competed in less than six Grands Prix in the last two years. Zonta raced for BAR in 1999 and 2000 and was test driver for Jordan in 2001, standing in for Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the Canadian and German GPs. Ryan Briscoe also continues as a test driver.

"Ricardo performed exceptionally well at test sessions throughout 2003, so he will be a big asset to us in 2004 as the driver of our third car on Fridays," said Team Manager Ange Pasquali. "Fridays will be very useful for us in terms of setting up the car and making our vital choice of Michelin tyre compound, so we have to make the most of running Ricardo in the third car."

Technical Specifications

Chassis code: TF104
Material: Carbon fibre
Transmission: Toyota seven-speed semi-automatic titanium gearbox
Front suspension: Push rod with torsion bar
Rear suspension: Push rod with torsion bar
Dampers: Sachs/Toyota
Wheels: BBS Magnesium
Front wheel diameter: 13in x 13in
Rear wheel diameter: 12.5in x 13.7in
Tyres: Michelin Pilot
Brakes: Brembo
Steering: Toyota
Electronics: Magneti Marelli
Battery: Panasonic

Wheelbase: 3090mm
Total Length: 4547mm
Front Track: 1425mm
Rear Track: 1411mm
Weight: 600kg including driver

RVX-04 engine
Engine Code: RVX-04
Number of cylinders: 10
Angle: 90° V-angle / 3000 cc
Spark Plugs: Denso
Fuel and Lubricants: Esso
Maximum horsepower: Around 900 bhp
Maximum revolutions: Around 19,000 rpm

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Olivier Panis , Ricardo Zonta , Ryan Briscoe , Mike Gascoyne , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Toyota Racing , Jordan