Howett urges Toyota to stay calm
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, May 25th 2009, 09:58 GMT|
Toyota F1 president John Howett has urged his team to 'hold its nerve' while it gets to the bottom of what went wrong at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Japanese manufacturer endured the worst F1 weekend in its history as Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock qualified at the back of the field - and struggled in the race.
And although suspecting that, like BMW Sauber, its struggles were the result of its car not interacting well with the tyres, Howett thinks it vital the team responds in a calm way to find out just what happened.
When asked if the weekend's performance had been a bit of a shock, Howett told AUTOSPORT: "Shock, yeah. We have just got to hold our nerve and try to understand and improve, no question. We also need to see if it is purely on slow speeds parts of the track that we have a problem. We have to understand more in the next week."
On the back of a very strong start to the season, which included the fight for victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Toyota's form has tailed away in the past two races.
Although the characteristics of the Barcelona and Monaco circuits could be an explanation for what has happened, Howett refuses to believe it is coincidental that after four strong events the team has now had two bad ones.
"I don't believe in coincidence. We have got to find what is wrong, and what is there. There is something there, no question. It could be that a certain area of aerodynamics is not there, or it could be that the mechanical traction is not good enough – I don't know."
Toyota's struggles in Monaco, allied to the battle over 2010 cost cutting regulations, prompted rumours over the weekend that the Japanese manufacturer would be out of F1 next year – irrespective of it a deal was done.
Howett dismissed such suggestions, however, claiming that Toyota was keen to find a deal that would keep it in the sport for the long term.
"I believe it is spin," he said about the speculation. "It has been put there deliberately to create some more tension in the situation. I think that is going now wider than Toyota, onto one or more manufacturer teams. I don't know the source, but I can only say in our case that there is a clear wish to enter next year's championship.
"That is easier to say than do, though, because to some extent there is now a very short deadline – earlier than I believe has been in recent years. And at the moment until things are clarified it is very difficult to place an entry."