MARCH 23, 2001

Toyota unveil new test car for entry into Formula One

TOYOTA unveiled their new Formula One test car at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on Friday and kept their feet firmly on the ground for their prospects when they enter the sport for real in 2002.

The Japanese marque will embark on a year of testing with drivers Mika Salo and Allan McNish before they enter Formula One competition next season.

"Only when we succeed can we maybe start thinking, or better dreaming, about challenging for the title," said Toyota Motorsport president Ove Andersson.

"Of course there is a desire to see the car race as soon as possible but we are realistic and want to have the car well prepared for racing, so that's why we are embarking on such an exhausting test program."

Toyota have manufactured their own chassis and engine for Formula One from their Cologne base in Germany with a team of engineers headed by general manager Norbert Kreyer and technical director Andre de Cortanze.

The team have around 20 engines for testing and the car conforms totally to current F1 regulations and has completed the new crash tests successfully.

FIA president Max Mosley attended the launch, along with Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, and Mosley paid tribute to Toyota's effort to get into the sport.

"I want to welcome Toyota into Formula One for the 2002 season," said Mosley. "This is an historic day. It says two things about Toyota - for the first time in the modern era we will have a major manufacturer in Formula One and they will be doing everything themselves.

"That is an extraordinary achievement and shows their self-confidence that in the full glare of the public they have decided to go into one of the most demanding sports. That is very courageous.

"It is a high risk project, but the company have thought about and researched the value of Formula One as a technical and marketing exercise."

Toyota will use the Paul Ricard circuit as their main testing circuit, but they also have plans for Finn Salo and Briton McNish to test at other European circuits throughout the year.

"Not only for Toyota but for Formula One, it is important that we are competitive," said Salo. "Formula One needs another dominant team. Hopefully, that will be Toyota. That is why I am here."