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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Toyota commit to F1 with new car

Toyota TF109
The TF109 joins Ferrari's F60 on the grid for the 2009 season

Toyota reiterated their commitment to Formula One as their 2009 car made its debut in an online launch ceremony.

In keeping with Ferrari's model, the first to be unveiled earlier this week, the Toyota TF109 incorporates a host of modifications to meet new rules.

"We have to win a race, that's clear," said team president John Howett. "This organisation only exists to win."

Driver Jarno Trulli said Toyota were "better prepared than ever" and "ready to face the fight for 2009".

Toyota are committed to F1 if there is a reason to stay, and that means being one of the top teams

Jarno Trulli
The Toyota Motor Corporation, which backs the team, forecast an annual loss of 1.1bn in December, prompting speculation that the Japanese manufacturer could follow the lead of compatriots Honda and quit the sport.

But the team once again underlined their determination to remain in F1 as the TF109 was presented to the public.

"We know what's going on with the economy, especially the automotive section, and Formula One is part of that even if it's a high-profile sport," Trulli told BBC Sport.

"F1 has been increasing development and cost for many years, and now it's time to step back. I agree with what they're doing.

"For the first time I can see all the teams working together with common sense to survive. The teams more than anyone else understand what's going on in F1, and today the message we are giving is that we are committed to Formula One."

Trulli said Toyota would remain in the sport "if there is a reason to stay, which means being one of the top teams" and added that he expected 2009 to be a "key season for everybody".

Trulli finished ninth in the 2008 drivers' championship, with team-mate Timo Glock 10th, leaving Toyota fifth in the race for the constructors' title - a position on which the team will want to improve this year

New 2009 regulations have forced modifications which lower and widen the front wing, with a tall, narrow rear wing.

Slick, untreaded tyres will also be reintroduced after 11 years on grooved tyres, and teams have the option of employing a kinetic energy recovery system (Kers).

The Kers system stores energy that would otherwise be wasted as heat during braking, then reapplies it during acceleration to provide a boost in power, controlled from the cockpit by the driver.

"We've got Kers developed and in the car," said Trulli. "Soon we'll run it but we don't know if we will start the season with it or not.

"Kers is very complicated and has no application at all with road cars, it's not like the one Toyota use on road cars.

"It might cause a lot of trouble in an F1 car in terms of reliability, and that might cause a question mark. But that's a problem for everyone."

The Italian veteran, who will turn 35 midway through the season, added: "I am passionate about this car and convinced I still have a lot to achieve. More than anything else, I'm still very quick."

Glock, 26, said the new car looked "pretty strange" with its wide front wing and high rear wing.

But he forecast a strong season ahead for himself and the team, and the former GP2 champion reserved a special welcome for the return of slick tyres to the sport.

"All the race categories I've driven before were on slick tyres," he said. "When you look around there is not one series without slicks, except F1, and now F1 is back on that.

"When you see young drivers coming up, they learn to drive with slick tyres, and when you come to F1 you have to adapt in a completely different way.

"This year it's nearly a new start for everybody - maybe the fans will see better racing, more overtaking and a better show."

13 Jan: Ferrari
15 Jan: Toyota
16 Jan: McLaren
19 Jan: Renault & Williams
20 Jan: BMW Sauber
9 Feb: Red Bull
TBC: Toro Rosso, Force India, former Honda team
Glock hit out at F1 fans in his home country of Germany for abuse he had received after the final race of the 2008 season.

He was passed by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on the final lap at Brazil's Interlagos circuit, which promoted Hamilton to fifth, enough for the Englishman to claim the drivers' championship.

"A lot of German people came up with negative things out of Brazil, it was surprising and disappointing, but that's how it is.

"At the end, the people behind the TV screen don't see what's going on on the track, they don't understand how it is when you drive with dry tyres in wet conditions.

"A lot of journalists and TV commentators didn't understand the situation, and it doesn't help when they ask why Timo is letting Lewis by. That doesn't make life easy for me."

Glock said he had a simple method of avoiding similar controversy in 2009.

"The target is definitely to be in front of Lewis," he explained. "When we are in front of Lewis and McLaren I think we will have had a good start to the 2009 season."

Toyota also announced on Thursday that engine supremo Luca Marmorini had left the company, with Kazuo Takeuchi taking the Italian's place.

McLaren will become the third team to roll out their 2009 car at a launch ceremony on Friday, with Renault, Williams and BMW Sauber due to follow suit next week.

While the various launches give an initial impression of each team's work in winter testing, all the cars can expect further modifications before the 2009 F1 season begins on 29 March in Melbourne, Australia.

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see also
Massa positive about new Ferrari
13 Jan 09 |  Formula One
New Toyota joins Ferrari on grid
15 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Massa gives new Ferrari first run
12 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Toyota commits to F1 despite loss
23 Dec 08 |  Formula One
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Big teams pledge to remain in F1
06 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Glock helpless on Hamilton pass
03 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Last-gasp Hamilton takes F1 crown
02 Nov 08 |  Formula One

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