Although he qualified on the front row last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, Jarno Trulli is hoping that his home grand prix, at Monza this weekend, will provide the return to the podium that Toyota has hinted at throughout the summer.
The Italian veteran - apparently fighting to keep his seat at Toyota following the sudden availability of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica at the end of the season - is hoping that the venue's high-speed nature, something it shares with Spa, will allow the Panasonic-backed team to retain its place at the front of the field and himself to better his previous best at Monza, fourth place in 2002.
"It was very encouraging in Belgium to start on the front row, and hopefully this is a sign that we are now able to get the full potential out of the car in qualifying," he noted, "I was unlucky in the race, but I enjoyed the chance to fight at the front, and hope to be able to do that again in Italy.
"Our car looked quite strong at Spa, and there will be a few changes for this weekend too. I am sure the competition will be very tight, but we have the chance to get back in the points. Monza would be the perfect place to return to form, so I am ready for the challenge.
"It is always a great occasion for me to be racing in front of the Italian fans and I really love the atmosphere at Monza. Of course, this is a home race for me, so I have a lot of supporters in the grandstands and it would mean a lot to me to achieve a strong result. I will be doing everything I can to do that."
Team-mate Timo Glock has happy memories of the Monza track, having won and finished third in the two GP2 races there in 2007, but feels that he has unfinished business after being a return to the podium on his first F1 appearance there with Toyota.
"Monza is all about speed, but my memories of the track are of the rain last year because the whole weekend was wet," the German recalled, "We got it right in qualifying and looked really strong for the race, but the conditions changed at the worst possible time and we missed the podium.
"Our car was competitive in Spa, so it was a pity things didn't go well in the race, although it was a promising sign to see how well we qualified. Our target is again to be both in the top eight on Saturday because this gives us the best chance of getting the kind of result our car is capable of."
Despite Toyota aiming to better the fifth and sixth place finishes it took at Monza in 2005, the team will bring a mildly-revised low-downforce aerodynamic package, simialr to that used at Spa, rather than having worked on a complete overhaul to deal with the long flat-out sections of the parkland venue.
"In the past, we always prepared a complete specific aerodynamic package for Monza, but it is a little different this year," senior general manager Pascal Vasselon confirmed, "Considering the reduced downforce levels, as well as their proximity on the calendar, we will use a similar package to Spa because these are now the only two tracks requiring significantly reduced drag compared to our baseline configuration.
"As Monza remains the most demanding in terms of top speed, we will have updates to our front and rear wings and we expect to be competitive again. But Monza is different to Spa because of the chicanes, which generate greater braking energy and require good braking stability. We will have a heavy-duty brake configuration with improved cooling, so that the excessive wear Jarno suffered in the race at Spa should not be repeated. Our package performed well in Belgium and we were unfortunate that other circumstances prevented us from fighting for the podium. But that's what racing is about and we will fight hard again this weekend."