On the back of Jarno Trulli's third place in France and Timo Glock's runner-up spot in Hungary [see separate story – click here
], Toyota has now set its sights firmly on its next goal in Formula 1 – 'the centre of the podium'.
The big-budget Japanese manufacturer – recovering from a couple of distinctly underwhelming campaigns in the top flight in 2006 and 2007 – has now notched up 35 points this season, seeing the squad open out a four-point advantage over former double world champions Renault in the closely-fought scrap over fourth place in the constructors' title chase.
Whereas in previous years the team's cars have displayed strong qualifying pace only to drop away in race conditions, nine points-scoring finishes from the first eleven grands prix in 2008 suggests that the Cologne-based concern has finally turned things around now – giving team principal Tadashi Yamashima considerable cause for optimism for the future, to say nothing of heightened ambitions.
“I really can't find the words to celebrate this result,” he enthused after Glock's magnificent second place at the Hungaroring, “the best of our season. We had a few difficulties in practice, but during qualifying the drivers pushed themselves to the limit and things got better and better.
“Timo drove a fantastic race. We saw immediately that his car was quick, and his third stint was almost perfect. He was under threat from Kimi [Raikkonen], but he was quick in the third sector and he was able to fend him off.
“Jarno was quick as well and pushed hard, but he was blocked for most of the race and couldn't show his pace until briefly in the last stint.
“This is a stunning performance, and my thanks go out to the whole team and everyone working in the factory. I'm very appreciative of all their hard work, and next we will aim for the centre of the podium.”
From 116 races in the top flight since making its debut back in 2002, Toyota has registered 198 points, eight rostrum finishes, two pole positions and one fastest lap – but no victories.