Toyota is 'hungry to win and ready to win' in Formula 1 in 2009 – that was the firm message from the big-budget Japanese manufacturer's motorsport president John Howett as the new TF109 was launched in Cologne today.
In an era of such great technological upheaval – designed to significantly reduce expenditure in the top flight over the next two years – Howett argues Toyota has a real opportunity to break its duck after 123 races since making its debut back in 2002. The Englishman contends that heading into the new campaign, the team is 'stronger than ever' from all that it has learned during its time in F1 – and ready and eager to prove all of its doubters wrong.
“The goal for me is clear,” he underlined. “We want to win our first race. To put ourselves in the best possible position to fight for our first victory, we need to be consistently challenging for the podium and scoring big points regularly.
“We are hungry to win and ready to win; there should be no doubt about that. The new regulations pose an extra challenge, but at the same time offer an opportunity. I believe the risks and opportunities associated with a major regulation change are the same for every team.
“There are no excuses; we have the chance to turn our potential into success if we do our job properly – but that is broadly the same every season. Overall I think the regulation change has a neutral effect when it comes to who succeeds and who doesn't.
“We have everything we need to win; we have some exceptionally talented people and huge motivation to succeed, so now it is down to us to actually make it happen. We have learned a tremendous amount over the past seven years, and that has helped us become a more cohesive and consolidated team.
“Obviously we are much more experienced now compared to the team's early years in Formula 1, and that means we have an ever-expanding database of knowledge to give us a better understanding of what drives track performance. We are also a team which is constantly striving to improve in every area; this organisation is hungry to win, [and] I believe we are stronger than ever heading into the 2009 season.”
Howett was also effusive in his praise for the driving line-up of experienced former Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock, who impressed many during the course of his first full season at the pinnacle of the sport last year. In a period in which little is remaining the same, continuity on this front at least, the Englishman suggests, cannot be underestimated.
“We are very happy with both Jarno and Timo,” he stated, “because they provide an ideal balance of experience and youth. It was very satisfying to see a strong spirit of co-operation between them last season, and there is no doubt that played a part in driving our performance forward.