Jarno Trulli has said that he is expecting better things from the Toyota team when the Formula One season resumes at the European Grand Prix next weekend.
Although the Cologne-based squad infamously went from fastest in qualifying to slowest of all between the Bahrain and Monaco grands prix, the Italian veteran believes that the pseudo-street circuit based around Valencia's America's Cup port should suit the TF109 in its revised form. Unlike Monaco, the circuit - which stages only its second F1 event after debuting in 2008 - includes a super-fast middle sector where cars reach over 315km/h and fewer tight sections where handling is at a premium.
The Toyota team has happy memories of Valencia - having taken fifth, with Trulli, and seventh, courtesy of a flu-ridden Timo Glock in 2008 - and with the TF109 showing itself to be a step forward over the TF108, hopes are high for a similarly strong performance this weekend.
After a couple of disappointing mid-season outings in Britain and Germany, where qualifying performance did not yield the anticipated results, Toyota showed better form in Hungary - where both drivers scored points - and a third consecutive race on Bridgestone's softest tyre compound has increased the mood of optimism within the camp.
"It seems like a long time since the last race, so everyone in the team is fired up to come out fighting this weekend," Trulli confirmed, "Valencia is not such an exciting circuit for me, but that doesn't matter so much if we are strong, which we were last year on this track.
"Unlike somewhere like Monaco, Valencia is actually very fast for a street circuit, so that should suit our car pretty well. In fact, it doesn't really feel much like a street circuit at all because it is so much faster than other city tracks. We were in the top six last year in Valencia and that is my target this season. It was good to have both cars in the points in Hungary and, while the Valencia track has a different character which makes it difficult to predict anything at this stage, my target is to score as many points as possible."
With chassis GM Pascal Vasselon claiming that the Valencia layout 'corresponds to what appears to be the best aerodynamic efficiency window for our car', Glock too is optimistic of repeating his 2008 performance in the second Spanish round of the season.
"I really enjoy street circuits and I generally perform very well on them," the German pointed out, "Valencia was tricky for me last year, because I had a bad cold and it was a real challenge just to finish the race, so I didn't enjoy the weekend as much as I could have.
"This year, I am determined to really have fun in the car - and, hopefully, finish even higher than I managed in 2008. We know from last year that overtaking is very difficult on this track, so qualifying will be particularly important, a similar situation to the previous race in Hungary. However, after finishing in the top six from 13th on the grid in Budapest, my goal this weekend is to start as high as possible and give myself the best chance for a good result in the race."