Jarno Trulli remains optimistic that his Toyota team can clinch fourth place in this year's constructors' championship battle, despite the Cologne-based team having already turned some of its resources to next season.
Speaking at the opening press conference of the European Grand Prix weekend in Valencia, the Italian enthused about the team's return to form, which had elevated it into that coveted 'best of the rest' fourth spot after team-mate Timo Glock claimed a season's best second place in the recent Hungarian Grand Prix. The German's result, which came after a strong weekend for the GP2 champion, added to Trulli's earlier podium in France, and complemented the string of scoring finishes the veteran has produced with the TF108 this season.
"I think the team is doing a very good job this year," Trulli admitted, "We start pretty well and we have always improved the car. The team is keeping on pushing the development work, so I am confident that, before the end of the season, we can do some good results.
"There are some circumstances and some circuits where we are extremely competitive, like it was in Hungary and Magny-Cours, and some others [where] maybe we suffer a bit more, but nevertheless I think we will always fight for top ten in qualifying and our aim is always to score points at every race obviously. Our target will be finishing fourth in the constructors' championship."
Although Toyota, in keeping with the majority of its rivals, is already well into the production phase of next season's challenger, Trulli revealed that the team was still managing to upgrade the TF108 in search of points among what is a strong chasing pack comprising Red Bull, Renault, Williams and, increasingly, Toro Rosso.
"Even here, we always have some new bits," he confirmed, "They are already concentrating on next year's car development, but they are still pushing on this year's car as, obviously, the fight for fourth in the constructors' championship is very tight. We would like to finish fourth...."
With the Formula One 'silly season' slowly grinding into gear, Trulli also admitted that he hoped to benefit from the improvement through 2008 next season, although he was a little more coy on his situation within the team.
"We have a contract in place [for 2009], so we believe we can stay together for next year," he conceded.