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Click above to view high-res image gallery of the Toyota TF109

Following Ferrari's unveiling of its new F60, Toyota is the second team to release its new challenger for the 2009 Formula One season. Called the TF109, it's the only car unveiled exclusively online without a public reveal. Of course, looking at it, you could paint the remaining white panels red (and move the wing mirrors to the sidepods) and it would look pretty much like Ferrari's. That's because all the cars have to conform to the same set of new rules, so it was back to the drawing board for all the teams. Naturally that means it'll be hard to predict which teams and which drivers will have adapted to the new rules and new cars the best, but Toyota's veteran driver Jarno Trulli is confident that the team is due for its first victory this season.

Wait, what? Yeah, despite pouring unprecedented heaps of cash at its Cologne, Germany-based team, Toyota has yet to win a grand prix. They came the closest last season, finishing a respectable fifth place in the constructors' championship just behind the former champions at Renault, but together with his team-mate Timo Glock, the 2007 GP2 champion, Trulli hopes this year will change the team's fortunes and translate its vast resources into trophies. And this is the car with which they hope to do it. Press release after the jump and images in the gallery below.

[Source: Panasonic Toyota Racing] PRESS RELEASE


TF109 – or Toyota Formula 1 2009 to give it its full name – is hot property. The first images revealed a stunning production which combines the latest technology with a very human passion to succeed. This potent combination has been working on TF109 since October 2007.

In a departure from recent Panasonic Toyota Racing productions, TF109 takes on a new shape, dictated by the FIA, with wider front wings, narrower rear wings and fewer additional aerodynamic devices the fashion for 2009.

The script may be different but Panasonic Toyota Racing has set its usual high targets for TF109. Chairman and Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina states: "Our target this year is to fight to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1."

TF109 is the sequel to the successful TF108, which once again established Panasonic Toyota Racing as a major player. TF108's roll of honour included two podiums, one front row start and, with 56, 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: "After eight years in Formula 1 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."

Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were the critically-acclaimed co-stars of TF108 and their on-track chemistry will reach new heights in TF109, once again supported by Kamui Kobayashi playing 'Third Driver'.

Tadashi Yamashina comments: "In my opinion Toyota has one of the best driver line-ups in Formula 1 and I am excited to see what they can do with the TF109. Both drivers proved last season that if we give them a competitive car they are capable of fighting with the best in the world, so our challenge this year is to deliver a car which will allow them to do this more often."

For Jarno, this is his fifth full year starring with Panasonic Toyota Racing. He brings maturity and heartfelt passion to his role while co-star Timo (title winner for GP2 Series in 2007) builds on the natural talent he showed in TF108, the first leading role of his career, to give a polished performance which is the perfect compliment.

Jarno, 34, says: "I have now spent longer racing for Toyota in Formula 1 than any other driver and I have seen the huge progress that has been made since I joined in 2004. It has been a long journey and we have had ups and downs but we have never given up or lost faith."

Timo is a relative newcomer to the role of Formula 1 leading actor, with just 22 Grands Prix on his resume, but his adaptability and quick thinking make him the perfect candidate to tackle TF109's technical challenge.

Timo, 26, says: "If you look back at the cars I have been racing for the last five years they have all been quite different, with the 2004 Jordan, then Champ Car, GP2 and the Toyota TF108, and I have been competitive in each of them. That shows how quickly I can adapt to a different car so I don't have any concerns at all about adjusting to the 2009-style Formula 1 cars."

Behind the scenes, those technical challenges required a painstaking approach from the production team. Action is the buzz word for this season so downforce is reduced and the potential for on-track cliff-hangers is the talk of the paddock. The most striking differences are changes to the front and rear wings. At 1800mm, front wings are wider and 75mm lower while rear wings are 75% narrower at 750mm.

Senior General Manager Chassis Pascal Vasselon says: "This complete programme has been more demanding on our company than any previous new car project I have been involved in."

An old favourite makes a comeback for 2009 with Bridgestone Potenza slick tyres ending a 12-year sabbatical to do their bit to spice up the show, bringing mechanical, rather than aerodynamic, sticking power.

As well as the subtle contribution of aerodynamics and star power of slick tyres, production of TF109 also focused on the commanding performance of Formula 1 engines, which must now work 50% harder. That means at least three Grands Prix, while Jarno and Timo have only eight engines each to co-star with from Australia to Abu Dhabi.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      That front wing also looks very different from the Ferrari. I predict there will be a lot of lost wings this year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I cannot get over that new wing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundaifans : I agree Toyota has struggled to a degree with F1 but regardless they have demonstrated remarkable commitment to the sport and not withdrawing even during a harsh economic down turn as the globe is experiancing at present really does prove thier desire to succeed at F1 and for that reason, i whole-heartedly support thier efforts... GO TOYOTA !!

      Regarding last years performance (2008), Toyota demonstrated notably improved performance not to mention i believe thier potential for greater success has certainly been increasing because of thier tireless efforts. That said, i reserve little doubt that Timo Glock will prove to be a good asset for the team aswell.

      On a finishing note, no-one can deny that Toyota had a fantastic season in NASCAR last year (2008) with them arguably stirring more emotion then any other participating manufactuer and it will certainly be interesting to see how they perform this upcoming season.

      All eyes on Toyota !!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The wings look incredibly unbalanced, like a bodybuilder with a buff chest but a tiny you-know-what.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i dont know if its just the pictures but the difference in size of the toyota front suspension opposed to the ferrari's..its so much more larger. I also think the toyota looks better but i still haven't pointed it out yet, i really think its the color scheme (which makes me excited to see how the McLaren chasis will look.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Wait, what? Yeah, despite pouring unprecedented heaps of cash at its Cologne, Germany-based team, Toyota has yet to win a grand prix."


      Everyone who follows F1 already knew this. Why treat it as a surprise?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota cannot seriously be getting enough bang for their buck with this team. Their performance is woeful. I really thought they would use the current tough economic conditions to pull out this season but it looks like they will waste some more cash for another year.......
        • 6 Years Ago
        They were more successful in 2005 scoring 5 podiums, and 88 points in all, with a pole at the US GP. They came 4th and would have beaten Ferrari for 3rd if not for the travesty that was the 2005 US GP.

        Last year was however in my opinion more impressive, and they showed genuwine development pace and racing passion. Maybe it could be this year. Maybe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      in my opinion, better than the ferrari...visually, at least.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Still as ugly as the models that whipped MadMax.

        I am so sad to see them destroying such a beautiful and innovative race.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That sounds like Toyota "performance" - make it LOOK nice and fast. Sigh. It is racing. Real racing even.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whats the deal with the wheel covers?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You watched F1 in 2008? They were all the rage... aero-covers to direct cooling to the brakes. Ferrari has them too... they just put BBS wheel decals over their designs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Love the piant job ... looks good. Infact, i believe the Toyota / Panasonic scheme is amoung the most attractive of all.

      Good luck in 2009 Toyota and hope to see some more podium finishes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cold they put any more Armor All® on the tires?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I do that all the time to my cars. Makes it look nice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are actually quite a few large differences between Toyota and Ferrari. For one, the nose on the ferrari is much longer, reaching past the front wing. The wings are completely differently shaped, suggesting differing air management profiles and the bodies themselves share differences I won't bother to point out.

      Good luck to Toyota this year. Hopefully the car isn't a bust. It would be a shame for Toyota to follow Honda and pull out of F1. I'm tired of seeing the same teams competing every year for the championship.
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