Having had a poor 2007 season which saw no podium finishes for either Ralf Schumacher or Jarno Trulli, Toyota s team boss Tadashi Yamashina has been given until 2010 to turn the fortunes of the team around.
Yamashina has admitted that the team cannot continue to operate at last season s level and he is looking at making some staffing changes to help the team improve, although it is yet unclear what will happen to Toyota should they make no progress between now and 2010.
“To become stronger it is more important to improve the level of organization in general rather than to rely on the power of one person,” Yamashina said. “And my job is to mobilize the resources to achieve that. I have been given two more years. So, we will work and fight to make sure we prove ourselves in the 2008 season.”
Yamashina pointed to two key factors which led to the team s poor 2007 the aerodynamics of the car, and their failure to adapt to Bridgestone tyres. “I think the biggest factor was aerodynamics, as it can be developed even further,â€ he continued. “Although we were able to achieve more than we targeted at the beginning of the year, 2008 will be the year to capitalize on what we have achieved this year for more improvement.
“Another important factor this year was that we failed to adapt to the change of tyres efficiently. Looking back over the season, we can see that our car was not hard enough on the tyres. It is better to be tough on the tyres and be faster. We can think of some reasons for this situation.
“Perhaps our car was too unstable because of the big change in downforce under braking, or we were too focused on aerodynamics and suspension design was compromised, and so on. By using tyres with very different characteristics this year, our sixth in Formula One, we were able to learn a great deal to help make a step forward toward the future. We will analyze the data during the winter and try not to make the same mistakes next season.”
Yamashina is optimistic about the team s fortunes in 2008 and believes that the team can learn from the problems they had in 2007. “This year’s experience brought home to me the fact that we have lot of work to do,” he said.
“We need to continue to push hard to arrive at the top. Our goal at the beginning of the year was to lead the second group and gradually reduce the gap between us and the two top teams, but in the end it was proved that we had been too optimistic.
“We studied our performances in 2007 and we believe we have found areas where we have to improve. We expect more from the aerodynamic side and also from an operational side but I am optimistic that the team knows what needs to be done to improve our performance.”