approximately 740 hp
(from Toyota Press
Release) Panasonic Toyota Racing starts 2009 with world
Panasonic Toyota Racing officially began the 2009 Formula 1 season
in cyberspace today with the world premiere of the team's latest
car, the TF109.
The team's eighth season in Formula 1 sees major rule changes so the
TF109, revealed exclusively on www.tf109-premiere.com, looked
considerably different to its predecessor, featuring wider front
wings and narrower rear wings among other modifications.
Today's world premiere completed an exhaustive development process
which began in October 2007, when the 2009 regulations were
confirmed. The TF109 begins pre-season testing on 19 January at
Algarve Motor Park in Portugal.
Despite the TF109's fundamentally different appearance, Panasonic
Toyota Racing's ambitious goals remain, as Chairman and Team
Principal Tadashi Yamashina states: "Our target this year is to
fight to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1."
The significant progress shown in 2008, when the team hit its
targets of returning to the podium and significantly increasing its
points total, has bred confidence.
Panasonic Toyota Racing achieved two podiums, one front row start
and, with 56, scored more points than in 2006 (35pts) and 2007
(13pts) combined. A Toyota was in the top 10 on the starting grid
for 14 of the 18 Grands Prix, finishing in the points 12 times, with
nine top-six finishes.
President John Howett says: "We have gained a huge amount of
knowledge and improved considerably. There are many elements of our
team which are at the very highest level so the challenge now is to
fill any gaps and ensure the entire organisation is performing at
the very top. Then we must put all the elements together and deliver
the success we are all fighting so hard for."
The Driving Force
After consistent and
competitive performances in 2008, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will
continue behind the wheel, joined again by third driver Kamui
Kobayashi, who will also race in GP2 Asia and the GP2 Series.
Tadashi Yamashina comments: "In my opinion Toyota has one of the
best driver line-ups in Formula 1 and I am excited to see what they
can do with the TF109. Both drivers proved last season that if we
give them a competitive car they are capable of fighting with the
best in the world, so our challenge this year is to deliver a car
which will allow them to do this more often."
Jarno is preparing for his fifth full season as a Panasonic Toyota
Racing driver and his experience has proved invaluable in the team's
development, while Timo's natural speed and enthusiasm are the
Jarno, who has achieved four of the team's eight podiums so far, is
entering his 13th season in Formula 1 and his legendary passion for
motorsport remains undimmed.
"I still have plenty I want to achieve in Formula 1 but my dream now
is to win the first race for Toyota," the 34-year-old Italian says.
"I have now spent longer racing for Toyota in Formula 1 than any
other driver and I have seen the huge progress that has been made
since I joined in 2004. It has been a long journey and we have had
ups and downs but we have never given up or lost faith. It was
fantastic to be back on the podium last year, as well as leading
several races, and my target is to enjoy more of those moments."
Timo broke into the top 10 in the Drivers' Championship in his first
full season of Formula 1 racing in 2008, quickly adapting to his new
team and equalling the team's best-ever result by finishing second
in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite being only 22 Grands Prix into his career, Timo has shown
maturity and excellent technical feedback, leaving him confident of
thriving in Formula 1's new era of lower downforce, slick tyres and
adjustable front wings.
The 26-year-old German says: "If you look back at the cars I have
been racing for the last five years they have all been quite
different, with the 2004 Jordan, then Champ Car, GP2 and the Toyota
TF108, and I have been competitive in each of them. That shows how
quickly I can adapt to a different car so I don't have any concerns
at all about adjusting to the 2009-style Formula 1 cars. I am sure
the other drivers will adapt quickly as well but I certainly expect
to hit the ground running."
For Toyota Young Drivers Programme star Kamui, this is his second
season with the team and he will continue his motorsport education
by fighting for wins in the GP2 Series while also helping Panasonic
Toyota Racing tackle the new regulations.
"I'm really pleased to be continuing with the team and I'm looking
forward to the challenge of developing the TF109," said the
22-year-old Japanese. "It will be another busy season for me with
GP2 and F1 development but I am young and I love driving racing cars
so it's no problem. I will fight all the way this year, never giving
up and always giving everything I can."
The Shape of Things to Come
The new chassis
regulations facing Jarno, Timo and Kamui are motivated by three
factors: to make overtaking easier; to limit the continual increase
in average speeds and to make the cars' appearance cleaner.
The visual differences are significant, particularly the front and
rear wings. At 1800mm, front wings are wider and 75mm lower while
rear wings are 75% narrower at 750mm. As well as reducing downforce
and speeds, these changes aim to increase a driver's chance to
overtake the car in front.
Such a transition gave Panasonic Toyota Racing engineers a clean
sheet of paper for the TF109 design, with relatively few concepts
carried over from previous cars. Using proven Toyota Way principles,
the challenge has been addressed methodically and enthusiastically.
Senior General Manager Chassis Pascal Vasselon says: "We have worked
to the maximum of our capabilities as we always do but this time it
had to be special because the rule changes were so big that we had
to reconsider everything. So this complete programme has been more
demanding on our company than any previous new car project I have
been involved in."
Another change this year sees the return of Bridgestone Potenza
slick tyres after a 12-year absence, increasing grip levels and
potentially making overtaking easier.
Pascal Vasselon explains: "If you are following another car closely
you lose a lot of aerodynamic performance and that makes it
extraordinarily difficult to overtake. So to promote overtaking it
is necessary to reduce the reliance on aerodynamic grip, because it
is inconsistent, and that is where slick tyres come in, by
increasing mechanical grip."
But it was not only the
chassis department who had to adapt to new regulations, with
significant modifications in engine rules for 2009 as well.
The engine department has a new look for 2009 following the
departure of Senior General Manager Engine Luca Marmorini. Luca made
a fantastic contribution to Toyota since the beginning of the
Formula 1 project, including invaluable work on the RVX-09 engine
and Kinetic Energy Recovery System projects, but he has chosen to
leave the team.
Executive Vice President Yoshiaki Kinoshita continues to hold
overall responsibility for both the chassis and the engine
departments while Kazuo Takeuchi will become Senior General Manager
Engine in addition to his role as Director Technical Coordination
Engine life has been extended from two to at least three Grand Prix
weekends, excluding Friday practice, incorporating a limit of eight
engines per driver during the racing season.
That measure not only saves cost, it also creates an additional
challenge for the engine department, but the team's ambitious
targets remain. Yoshiaki Kinoshita says: "At Toyota, our approach is
always to aim high and last season we achieved our target of 100%
engine reliability; we had no race-ending issues. I want the team to
have the chance to use the engine in the same aggressive way we did
last season, with no compromise on performance or reliability."
As part of this cost-saving measure, and to assist with reliability,
engines will be limited to 18,000rpm; down by 1,000rpm on 2008.
Cost-saving is high on
the Formula 1 agenda and Panasonic Toyota Racing is committed to
reducing expenditure while maintaining the sport as the pinnacle of
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and the International
Automobile Federation (FIA) have agreed significant reductions for
2009, including a ban on in-season testing, wind tunnel restrictions
and factory closures for six weeks a year.
"These are positive, decisive measures which will significantly
reduce costs while retaining the DNA of Formula 1 and that was very
important to Toyota," says John Howett.
But ensuring value for investment does not stop there for Panasonic
Toyota Racing, with increased efficiency and a thorough review of
all costs providing direct savings at the factory.
John Howett adds: "It is vitally important to have a detailed
knowledge of what is driving costs, then you need to be able to
prioritise the areas which bring value or performance. A lean
company must have a culture of waste reduction and constant
"Happily, these are all factors which Toyota puts particular
emphasis on, even in prosperous economic times, so I am confident we
are in good shape."
So, heading into a fascinating Formula 1 season, Panasonic Toyota
Racing is completely committed to success on and off the track. The
2009 season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 29
March, while the 17th and final race is the inaugural Abu Dhabi
Grand Prix on 1 November.