Gascoyne praises drivers

Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne praised his 2005 driver pairing Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli at the team's new chassis launch - and suggested that the pair will flourish in the atmosphere provided by his squad

Gascoyne praises drivers

Critics have suggested that although Schumacher and Trulli are capable of winning races, they are too inconsistent to be regarded as absolute top-line drivers. Gascoyne dismissed these claims.

"The environment here will suit both drivers," said Gascoyne. "They are both very quick and if anything has been said about them during their careers it's that they are not able to produce their best form at all times.

"But both maybe had environments which I believe didn't allow them to produce their form consistently."

Gascoyne believes that Schumacher's fractious relationship with former Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya affected his form, and that Trulli's performances were hampered by arguments with his former manager - and Renault team boss - Flavio Briatore.

"Ralf had a prickly team-mate which must have been a distraction, and Jarno had a contractual situation which is not the kind of thing that brings the best out of him as a driver," the Toyota technical director said.

"The reason they work well together is that Ralf needs a team-mate that is quick enough to motivate him but is not political and Jarno fits that bill. Jarno, equally, will be encouraged by having a driver as fast as Ralf to measure himself against, which will be a strong motivating factor.

"They are both proven race winners who have shown that they are capable of dominating a grand prix."

Gascoyne is well placed to make judgements about his new driver line-up, having worked with Schumacher at Jordan in 1997/8 and with Trulli at Jordan in 2000 and Renault in 2002/3. The duo become the sixth and seventh drivers to have raced for Toyota since it entered F1 in 2002, and represent by far its most high profile driver pairing to date, with six grand prix wins between them.

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