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SPARKY: Toyota’s TF106 means business

January 14 2006

Fresh from testing, the TF106 witnessed the cameras and press at its official launch in Toyota’s manufacturing facility in France, home to the Toyota Yaris. But today wasn’t the launch of a new car; it was the launch of Toyota’s ongoing development, which will once again see the TF106 evolve.

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SPARKY: Toyota’s TF106 means business

Toyota make a habit of early launches, and this year is no exception. The TF106 made its first appearance back in December and since then the team have got the jump on everybody else by testing a 2006 car, instead of a 2005 development car. Therefore today’s launch was a day for Toyota to outline its aims and to showcase their ongoing development.

First impressions are obvious; it looks like the son of the TF105 and TF105B, and resemblance of all the other Toyota Formula One cars with the red and white colour scheme. But this is far from the finished product, as this current spec TF106 is picking up information for the next faze of the TF106 range. This is promising news as Toyota have to adapt to the new Bridgestone tyres and V8 engine, and your not going to get it right first time, therefore having already developed a car which fits the 2006 regulations, when Toyota bring out the upgrade before the first race in Bahrain, the jump on the field could be enormous, with the rest of the paddock playing catch up for the reminder of the season.

Toyota outlined its winning philosophy, with early tests, constant upgrades and close communication. They even proposed the TF106B arrival, that being the seventh round of the championship, the Monaco Grand Prix. Toyota has confidence that they now have the platform to build an extremely strong, fast and reliable racing car. Mike Gascoyne has hinted that there are many new parts to be bolted onto the car during the season, and like last year the car that is launched today isn’t the car that finishes the season 9 months on. This again is promising stuff, the team are hitting new highs and larger goals, which are all capable if they don’t mess up on stratergy, or tyres like last year.

My view is that this isn’t a points finishing car, this is a consent top three finishing car. Unlike last year where the team needed to finish well into the points, this time around it’s well into the podiums. With the early preparation which has taken Formula One to another high quality and fast turn around level, I expect to see this car well up front in the first few races, after that it’ll be down to the test team and everybody back at the factory to maximise every single component of the car. Also the team will have to work better, no more silly errors with tyres, good communication with their drivers putting the cars towards the sharp end of the field.

If last year was anything to go by, I expect the team to raise the bar again this time round. The TF106 means business, and the team are confident of good results. Where they end in 2006 could be anywhere, but teams like Ferrari, Honda and Renault better watch out, because the TF106 is coming to get you!


© Totally Toyota F1/Nicholas Sparkes 2006

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