The TF109 - Image Credit: Panasonic Toyota Racing
F1 Season Begins For The Toyota TF109
Yesterday marked the first day Panasonic Toyota Racing debut its new sled that will campaign for the title of the 2009 Formula 1 open wheel motorsports racing season.
The team's eighth season in Formula 1 sees major rule changes so the new TF109, revealed exclusively on www.tf109-premiere.com, looked considerably different to its predecessor, featuring wider front wings and narrower rear wings among other modifications.
The test, yesterday, completed an exhaustive development process which began in October 2007, when the 2009 regulations were confirmed. The TF109 began pre-season testing at Algarve Motor Park in Portugal.
Despite the TF109's fundamentally different appearance, Panasonic Toyota Racing's ambitious goals remain, as Chairman and Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina states: "Our target this year is to fight to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1."
Kamui Kobayashi in the garage at Algarve Motor Park Image Credit: Panasonic Toyota Racing
The significant progress shown in 2008, when the team hit its targets of returning to the podium and significantly increasing its points total, has bred confidence.
Panasonic Toyota Racing achieved two podiums, one front row start and, with 56, scored more points than in 2006 (35pts) and 2007 (13pts) combined. A Toyota was in the top 10 on the starting grid for 14 of the 18 Grands Prix, finishing in the points 12 times, with nine top-six finishes.
President John Howett says: "We have gained a huge amount of knowledge and improved considerably. There are many elements of our team which are at the very highest level so the challenge now is to fill any gaps and ensure the entire organisation is performing at the very top. Then we must put all the elements together and deliver the success we are all fighting so hard for."
Kamui Kobayashi leaves the garage in the new TF109 at Algarve Motor Park - Image Credit: Panasonic Toyota Racing
This excerpted and edited from the Panasonic Toyota Racing team website -
THE SEASON STARTS HERE
Portimao Test - Day 1 - Monday 19 January 2009
Location: Algarve Motor Park, Portimao, Portugal
Drivers: Kamui Kobayashi
Panasonic Toyota Racing got its 2009 testing programme underway today at a new venue for the team; the Algarve Motor Park in Portugal. Kamui Kobayashi was at the wheel for the first pre-season tests of the TF109, which was unveiled for the first time on www.tf109-premiere.com last week. After conducting a successful and trouble-free roll-out of the TF109 yesterday, Kamui continued to work on the team's kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), which is being used on track for the first time this week, as well as performing systems checks and gathering information about the new car. Unfortunately, wind and rain, particularly in the afternoon, disrupted the programme. Jarno Trulli takes over from Kamui tomorrow.
Image Credit: Panasonic Toyota Racing
Kamui Kobayashi - Chassis TF109-02
Best Lap Time: 1min 50.989s
Total laps: 46
"Today has gone well and I am happy with the new car. It has been an interesting experience to drive with KERS for the first time and we are understanding more about the system all the time. This is my first time driving at this track and I have to say I am very impressed; the lay-out is really exciting and quite challenging for a driver. The weather was far from ideal, especially in the afternoon, so that meant we could not spend as much time on track as we planned."
Kamui Kobayashi in the new TF109 taking a corner at Algarve Motor Park - Image Credit: Panasonic Toyota Racing
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis
"It is always a very exciting moment to see your new car begin pre-season testing and that is especially true this year after such a significant regulation change. Overall I am very pleased with the initial results from the TF109 and I believe we have good reason for optimism. Of course, it is very difficult to make comparisons to the other teams in the winter, and that is particularly true when the weather is not very good. In addition to the usual challenges of testing a new car, we worked with the KERS system again today. This is a new technology to Formula 1 so there is a huge amount to learn but our hard work in the factory meant we were quite well prepared for this first test and we have collected a lot of important information."
Cost-saving is high on the Formula 1 agenda and Panasonic Toyota Racing in the design of the TF109 was committed to reducing expenditure while maintaining the sport as the pinnacle of motor racing.
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) have agreed significant reductions for 2009, including a ban on in-season testing, wind tunnel restrictions and factory closures for six weeks a year.
So, heading into a fascinating Formula 1 season, Panasonic Toyota Racing is completely committed to success on and off the track. The 2009 season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 29 March, while the 17th and final race is the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 1 November.
... notes from The EDJE