As it gets set to enter its seventh season in the top flight, Toyota has boldly promised that it will finally achieve its maiden grand prix victory in 2008 - more than 100 races on from its Formula 1 debut.

The Japanese manufacturer endured a desperately disappointing 2007 campaign, registering just 13 points - a far cry from two years previously when it had notched up 88 points and five podium finishes. As it bids to battle back, the German-based outfit has promised to return to the rostrum in 2008 - only this time right in the middle of it.

"We see our motorsport activities as part of a vigorous implementation of our [motoring] activities," underlined Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto at the launch of the team's new TF108 challenger in Cologne. "Toyota has been engaged in a wide range of activities from the FIA Formula 1 World Championship to other premier racing categories such as NASCAR in the US and Formula Nippon in Japan, as well as entry-level categories.

"Last year we were unable to achieve the results we had hoped for, but this year we are confident we can achieve great results. By turning over a new leaf and working in concert as a team we will achieve our first victory."

That quest has been aided immeasurably, he made a point of adding, by the appointment of Tadashi Yamashima as Toyota F1 chairman and team principal in December, 2006. Yamashima was similarly confident of the squad's 2008 chances, and particularly effusive when it came to talking about Toyota's new driver line-up for the forthcoming season.

"There are several reasons for us to be optimistic in 2008," he asserted. "We are so hungry to succeed, whilst we also have continuity and consistency on the design and team management side. This gives us a very stable base and good communication, and better team work to allow us to work on an innovative concept which will improve our 2008 car.

"I'm very excited about our new [driver] line-up. Jarno [Trulli] has great experience in the F1 world, and a very good speed base. I'm sure he is one of the right people to challenge for our targets. Timo [Glock] showed us the best racing and fighting spirit in GP2 last year, so I'm sure he is also the right man for our goals, while [test-driver] Kamui [Kobayashi] has also demonstrated his capability and potential to drive an F1 car.

"The clear target in 2008 is to make a great improvement in our results. Our drivers should be aiming to finish in the points regularly and challenging for podiums, and as a team we must make our best effort to give the drivers a car which is capable of challenging for our goals.

"Of course, our ultimate target is the middle step of the podium. We are in Formula 1 to win, so we want to do that soon."

 

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