By Andrew Benson
Mike Gascoyne is not renowned in Formula One for his modesty - but if he appears a bit big-headed, then he has every reason to be.
Gascoyne is the man who has performed a task some thought impossible - changing big-spending Toyota from wasteful also-rans into potential winners.
It is a task for which the 42-year-old Englishman has been well rewarded by the Japanese car giant.
But while his £4m salary and personal swagger have led to a degree of resentment among some of his less-successful rivals, Gascoyne says the sniping does not bother him.
"Everyone gives you a load of grief because you're so bullish and self-confident, but I sort of look at them and think: 'Well, don't I deserve to be?'" he says.
"The simple fact is, Toyota do pay me a lot of money, because I told them what they were going to get for it was worth it.
"If I hadn't delivered I wouldn't be getting paid it now, I'd have been sacked.
"If you're Jose Mourinho and you win the Premiership, they pay you a load of money. If he hadn't and Chelsea had finished fifth, he'd have got sacked. It's the reality of the situation.
Renault have set the pace in 2005 - but Toyota are not far behind
"This is no different. He's one of the top managers in the world and he has to deliver. That's my position, too."
Just as with Mourinho, while Gascoyne's manner may rub people up the wrong way, there is no questioning his results.
The transformation he has performed at Toyota since joining the team in December 2003 is one he had already previously managed for Jordan and Renault.
But while it took three years to convert Renault from backmarkers to front-runners, at Toyota it has been done in a third of that time.
Until this year, Toyota's best result in three years as one of F1's best-funded teams was fifth place.
This season, Toyota driver Jarno Trulli has finished second at the last two races behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Renault.
1989-1991: McLaren (aerodynamicist)
1991-94: Sauber (head of aerodynamics)
1994-98: Tyrrell (deputy technical director)
1998-2000: Jordan (technical director)
2001-2003: Renault (technical director)
2003- : Toyota (technical director)
It is a quite remarkable turnaround, and Gascoyne's past record proves it is no accident.
Yet while others may wonder how he does it, Gascoyne insists there is no magic.
He says it is simply a matter of concentrating car development on the areas that make the biggest difference.
"In the end, that normally boils down to getting the aerodynamics right," Gascoyne says. "But just saying: 'That's the priority, let's do it,' isn't enough - Williams have been saying it for five years and never done it. You've also got to know how to do it."
Toyota, he says, were approaching the design of their car in the wrong way at their F1 base in Cologne, Germany.
And while he will not reveal publicly exactly what he believes the right way to be, what it boils down to is using basic scientific methodology throughout the design of the car.
That means investigating each part with minute care and building up a lot of small advances into one big step forward.
Gascoyne has "never been able to work out" why more people in F1 do not take a similar approach.
"It's simple - and I've never been able to understand why everyone in this business makes it so difficult," he said.
"When I walked around Toyota on my first day, I knew exactly what was wrong, exactly how to fix it and that it would take nine months to do it."
The big talk in public, he says, is part of an act to keep up the confidence of the people he is working with while he puts in place the changes required to make the team competitive.
"You've got to make people believe it because they've got to go through a year when the results are bad but they've got to work really hard."
While Gascoyne was finishing off the process of reorganising Toyota last summer, he got an unexpected boost with the news that F1's rules were changing.
Trulli has finished second twice in the first three races
New restrictions on aerodynamics and tyres meant that all the teams had to start their new cars from scratch, rather than build on experience accrued over several years.
That meant Toyota could make in one year a leap that otherwise would have taken longer.
"Because everything was totally changed and everyone was starting from the same point," Gascoyne says, "it was a question of how well you could do it from there.
"And I'd set up a department that could do it as well as Renault did or Ferrari."
Or almost as well, anyway.
Gascoyne admits that the Toyota is "0.2-0.3secs" off the pace of the Renault and that "because Jarno has fantastic pace over one lap, he's probably getting slightly closer in qualifying than the car can race".
Toyota are getting accustomed to heading more established rivals
But he insists that Toyota can build on their stunning start to the season and win a race this year.
"A lot of people are saying: 'Can you win a race?' Well, why not? We've finished these two races behind Alonso, and if he'd had the tyre problem (team-mate Giancarlo) Fisichella had in Malaysia or the engine failure Fisi had in Bahrain, we'd have won both races.
"In the last two races, Renault have scored 20 points and we've scored 25. Ferrari will come up and win races, for sure. McLaren will probably win a race or two. But if they win a race, Toyota will probably win two or three."