The new TF107 challenger was unveiled at the Expo XXI conference centre in Cologne by Panasonic Toyota Racing.Toyota will race with the same engine, tire partner and the same 2 drivers.
That unique degree of continuity will enable the team to hit the ground running and build on the experience gained over recent seasons.
"Our fundamental challenge this year is to get the first victory," says Chairman and Team Principal Tsutomu Tomita.
"We announced that a year ago, but we failed to succeed in 2006. And therefore we want to repeat that challenge in 2007. I know all the other teams are working very hard, particularly the top three. We have five years experience in F1, but still we are young in comparison with the top teams, therefore we have to be modest about it. But we would like to challenge them.
"The most important target to aim for this season is the first victory for Toyota in Formula 1," he said. "We want to be on the top step of the podium. We have improved in all areas, aerodynamics, suspension and gear change."
The team has been strengthened in its quest for success by the arrival of George Tadashi Yamashina, who took over as Vice Chairman of Toyota Motorsport in December. Yamashina will compliment the roles of Tomita and President John Howett, forming a management trio to lead Panasonic Toyota Racing to success.
Last year the team did not meet its high expectations it had after success in 2005 but there is great confidence that the TF107 will see Toyota competing at the front again.
The team had a frustrating 2006 season but, in the spirit of kaizen, or continuous improvement, the new car benefits from all the knowledge and experience gained. With the right people in place and the will to win, the TF107 is the product of the team’s potential.
While there is continuity in other areas, the TF107 is a completely new car, with virtually no parts carried over from the TF106 and TF106B that preceded it.
"It’s pretty extensively changed in terms of basic lay-out," says Howett. "When we went from the V10 to V8 the back of the engine effectively stayed in the same place, and the chassis and fuel tank filled the space where the front two cylinders of the V10 were. Now we’ve moved to engine forward, and yet worked really hard to still have a big tank. The gearbox is longer, and we will run a seamless shift for the first time.
"Aerodynamics is the big focus, and a lot of the chassis layout has been designed to give better aero opportunity. The whole monocoque concept has been modified in terms of height and how it sits. Before it was quite a low car, now it’s higher. We have improved the suspension, and we have some interesting developments in the pipeline that we hope will give us performance."
In 2006 Toyota made the switch to Bridgestone tires, giving it a head start in cooperating when the Japanese company becomes the sole supplier this year.
The experience gained in adapting to new tires will benefit the team and help it get the maximum out of the tires available.
"We switched to Bridgestone tires one year ago,’ says Tomita. In the beginning it we had some problems. I would compare it to the weather. In the winter testing and at the beginning of the season it was cloudy but in the middle of the year the clouds began to disappear and towards the end it was perfectly sunny!
"It was down and up through the year, but it was a very good learning year in 2006. So if I talk about 2007, and going to single tire supplier, we have learned a lot about tire treatment, particularly about temperature, suspension geometry and downforce."