Gascoyne lauds driver line-up

Toyota technical chief Mike Gascoyne reckons he will be working with a top-class group of drivers in 2005, the most experienced combination out there and one which will boost team performance

Gascoyne lauds driver line-up

The Briton, who moved to Toyota from Renault last year, is also unworried by the inconsistent form shown in the past by race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher, believing Toyota will get the best out of them.

Trulli, Schumacher and test driver Ricardo Zonta have all been in action testing at Barcelona this week, while Olivier Panis has also been clocking up the miles, doing an engine development test at Paul Ricard over three days this week and Gascoyne feels the four form an ideal line-up.

Gascoyne said: "The fact that Jarno and Ralf are supported by two highly experienced guys like Olivier and Ricardo (Zonta) is extremely important. With Olivier staying on as test and reserve driver and Ricardo as the driver of the third car at grands prix, I think Toyota has the most experienced line-up of all the teams.

"It means we've got two race drivers absolutely at the top of their game, proven race winners, and we have got unparalleled experience in the test drivers with Olivier and Ricardo. That's a pretty impressive line-up, especially for a team that finished eighth in the championship, and it should give the whole team a lot of confidence."

Gascoyne is well aware that both Trulli and Schumacher have their critics. "Both Ralf and Jarno are proven race winners and I think they are both very quick," he said. "Jarno is exceptional over one lap, but in his career he has struggled for consistency in races. However, in the first half of 2004 he did an excellent job before relationships deteriorated for him at Renault. For his first win at Monaco, he had pole, was quickest in practically every session and led every lap of the race. That is quite an achievement!

"Ralf is also very quick and he's won several races in his career. Again, there is perhaps some evidence of a lack of consistency down the years. On some weekends he seems to dominate his team-mate and is just unbelievable. At some of the races he has won in the past he has seemed to dominate the entire weekend, but at other times he seems not to be at that level.

"So I think both Ralf and Jarno are drivers who need to be in the right frame of mind to perform consistently, and a lot of that has to do with having the right team and the right environment around them. We have got to make sure that we give them a car with which they can do their best, and that we create the environment where they can do that consistently."

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