Toyota may have missed the top ten on the starting grid with either car for only the second time this season in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, but the team can at least take encouragement from the fact that the last time that happened, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock delivered the squad its first double points' finish of the year too.
In the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal back in June, Glock and Trulli converted eleventh and 14th-placed grid positions respectively into fourth and sixth spots at the chequered flag, sandwiching the Ferrari of Felipe Massa in the race's closing laps.
As they line up eleventh (Trulli) and 13th in Spa-Francorchamps – and with both Renault and Red Bull Racing threatening to close the gap in the fraught battle over fourth place in the constructors' world championship – the big-budget Japanese manufacturer must be hoping for more of the same in the forests of the Ardennes.
“We knew we would be struggling a bit given these low temperatures,” reflected Trulli, equally pointing to the loss of around four tenths of a second a lap around the longest circuit on the F1 calendar with a race-old engine in the back of his TF108. “It was a difficult qualifying for us – this has been the trend of the weekend so far unfortunately.
“It was very hard to get the temperature into the tyres in order to make them work properly, so it is then not easy to judge the car balance. As well as that I am on the second race with my engine, and that is particularly important here because you have the long straights.
“Normally on the second race the engine loses a little bit of power and here this makes a difference to the lap time, but Sunday is another day and I will do my best. The only positive point is that we can choose our strategy just before the race.”
“It was quite a difficult session for me,” echoed Glock. “In practice we were struggling a bit to bring the tyres to the right temperature, and we suffered from this again in qualifying. It was particularly hard to get the heat into the tyres on my first flying lap, so we were not able to get the result we wanted.
“We are not getting the performance out of the tyres in these conditions, and it is difficult to get a feeling for the car when that happens. It was really tricky to get it right, and it's hard to see it changing dramatically [on Sunday]. Maybe the temperature will rise a bit or it will rain; you never know here.
“It would be good for me if it was wet, because I like those conditions and our car performs well if there is a bit of rain. We will have to wait and see, but whatever happens we will push as hard as we can to achieve the best possible result.”