The Panasonic Toyota Racing team will debut their new car this weekend at the German Grand Prix and like McLaren's new car introduced at Magny-Cours, the TF104B, will be crucial for the Cologne based squad as they seek to move up the grid and improve on their points tally, which currently sees them 166 points behind run away leaders, Ferrari

Speaking as the clock ticks towards 'judgement day', team boss, Tsutomu Tomita added that the B-spec car was just part of Toyota's long term strategy.

"This weekend will see the debut of our revised TF104B car with improved aerodynamics and a new specification engine, so I hope that we will be able to achieve a similar result to 2003 - when we saw our cars finish in 5th and 6th places in front of our Toyota Motor Corporation president Mr. Cho [at the Hockenheimring].

"Formula 1 is constantly progressing, so to maintain momentum throughout the season, we have to make improvements at each race weekend. The TF104B is just one step forward for Panasonic Toyota Racing. We are already looking much longer-term with the creation of next year's car, the TF105, but we will do this in parallel to further evolutions of the TF104B over the remaining races of this season."

Toyota was testing at Jerez last week in Spain, giving the car a run in prior to its debut this weekend.

"We used last week's test in Jerez to shake down the chassis of the new TF104B car," explained Toyota's chassis technical director, Mike Gascoyne. "Most of the parts that make a difference to the lap time will appear for the first time this weekend though. We know from simulations what kind of step we could make, but we have to wait until Friday to see how the data translates to the track.

"The German Grand Prix will be something of a test session for us, as we establish a baseline of the TF104B's potential. The car has an upgraded aero package, as well as a substantially repackaged chassis with lower weight and centre of gravity. The debut of the TF104B now marks the start of a renewed development process for Toyota which will take us to the last race of the season in Brazil."

Engine technical director, Luca Marmorini reckons they should be proud of what they have achieved with their latest model.

"As part of the TF104B package that will race at Hockenheim for the first time this weekend, we have worked tremendously hard in the engine department to incorporate a new specification RVX-04 engine," he noted.

"This spec was originally intended for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, but we have pulled out all the stops to introduce the new version three races earlier than planned. We have run extensive tests in the dyno to ensure our excellent reliability rate continues, whilst introducing a performance increase of around 2%. The TF104B, as a chassis-engine package, should be a good performance gain for Toyota. As the youngest team in F1, we should all be proud of what we have been able to achieve in such a short space of time."

Drivers Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta can't wait to get on track to try out their latest 'toy'. Both are hopeful that it will allow them to challenge for regular points finishes.

"Everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing is really looking forward to racing our new TF104B race car at this weekend's German Grand Prix," said da Matta. "There has been a lot of pressure on the team to produce a quicker car, but everyone working at the factory has put a lot of effort into the TF104B, so we're hoping for a reasonable jump in performance.

"Last year, the Hockenheimring was a track that suited our car - we qualified in the top ten and both cars finished in the top six. It was our best result of the year as a team, so I enjoyed it a lot. Now we hope the TF104B comes out as we have targeted, and we can start to aim for more results like that."

Panis is just as optimistic.

"Personally, I am hoping for something of a turnaround of fortune with the debut of our TF104B race car at this weekend's German Grand Prix," he summed up. "A lot of hard work has gone into producing this car, so I would take this opportunity to thank every single member of the team for their individual contribution.

"We had a shakedown of the chassis at last week's test in Jerez, but most parts will only be run for the first time in Hockenheim, so we were unable to assess the car's true performance level. In addition to the chassis and aerodynamic upgrades, we also have a new spec engine for Hockenheim, so as a package, I am confident that we will make a good step forward."

 

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