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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Toyota has been around in motorsport since 1957 but their entry to Formula 1 is as recent as 2002. After partnering with various smaller teams in other motorsport disciplines, Toyota decided to enter F1 on their own without partnering any specialist constructor. Toyota also set-up their base in Germany unlike most other teams that seemed to prefer Britain.

Allan McNish and Mika Salo were their drivers for the debut season. Driving the TF102, built out of the biggest F1 budget, neither could make an impression and the team languished at the back, competing only with the Minardi and beating Arrows! Despite replacing both drivers for the 2003 season, Toyota could not do much better. They scored 16 points and finished more races, but their overall standing as constructor improved to only 8th.

Toyota retained da Matta and Panis but the results did not improve. There was a serious blot on the reputation during this season when both Toyotas were disqualified in Canada for running illegal parts.

By 2005, the team had matured and the line-up had changed again. Jarno Trulli, who had come aboard in 2004 retained his place, but his partner from 2004, Ricardo Zonta lost his seat to Ralf Schumacher. Toyota was also supplying engines to Jordan that year; a sign that things were coming together for them. 2005 was, by far, Toyota's most successful year and they finished all but two races that season. With 88 points, they finished 4th and were looking ahead with hope.

2006 came and went and Toyota did not make much headway. Too many retirements raised doubts about the car's reliability and as a result, they slipped from a 4th place in 2005 to 6th in 2006. Nonetheless, their development seemed on track and for 2007, they have unveiled a new car, the TF107. The drivers line-up remains unchanged with R.Schumacher and Trulli seeming comfortable with the team and setup.

Team Boss: Tsutomu Tomita

Races: 98

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Toyota V8 RVX-07

Chassis: TF107 - Toyota

Suspension: Penske/Toyota

Brakes: Brembo Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: 7-speed unit + reverse

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed Toyota semi-automatic shift via driver-controlled electro-hydraulic actuation
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4530 mm x 1800 mm x 950 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Chief engineer: Luca Marmorini
Drivers: Jarno Trulli (Italy), Ralf Schumacher (Germany)
Test driver: Franck Montagny

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