Gascoyne: redesigning the future

Mike Gascoyne knows better than anyone what it's going to take to turn around the poor performances of Toyota, and as the highest paid technical director in the paddock he knows there can be no excuses - they must improve this year, period.

Gascoyne: redesigning the future

Under Gascoyne Jordan became an outside chance for a world championship; without him they collapsed. He took Renault from a team being outqualified by Minardi up to the sharp end of the grid, and the systems he implemented have kept them there. His Japanese paymasters expect nothing less for their team.

Originally launched on January 8, the TF105 has already been redesigned, taking into account the reams of data the team has generated in testing. Ferrari, who have a comparable budget to Toyota, are not running their new car until the fifth round of the championship - Toyota will have different packages between Melbourne and Malaysia.

No one has ever attempted a programme of this scale before, but it's typical of Gascoyne that he would be the man to try it first. Toyota are ambitious, but Gascoyne is even more so, and when autosport.com caught up with him he was in the process of running the new car, the package that he thinks will be the start of Toyota's emergence as a true force in Formula 1...

Overall I am very satisfied, although it was very difficult to judge on the first day of the newly resurfaced Barcelona track - we had to do long runs to get the tyres to work. I think it is a useful step forward; there are lots of new parts on the car, and we've done around 100 laps .The car has got the same monocoque, engine, gearbox and suspension, but all the aero parts are new. Several new parts are being built for Melbourne, so this is not the complete kit.

I think the tyre issue is the biggest thing to deal with. In terms of downforce we are getting close to the levels we had last year, and the ultimate performance of the car is not much different, but managing the tyres over a race distance in a race weekend is the biggest difference. There will be limited mileage [on a race weekend] because of the engines, so we will see.

It is just the 105 - it was always an interim package we set at the launch, and this [the car testing in Barcelona this week] is the definitive 105.

It is more difficult since they resurfaced here [Barcelona was resurfaced between December and January]. Everyone just did long runs, and because it just gets quicker and quicker it was the case of making sure everything works, nothing fell off, and get through a programme. We ran 100 laps with no problems, which we didn't expect. It is good that lots of cars are running , but we concentrated on long runs.

It's difficult, as everyone says there is no grip, nothing works and it's a nightmare! The first reaction was that he felt the car was better, especially the front end; we're still struggling with the rear, but I think that is the characteristics of the car. If you talk to the other guys the problem is always the rear end. Running here is just about getting the tyres to work.

Not this week, but a lot more in Melbourne.

You can find that out, but it is much more important to be controlled about your programme; it's too early to draw any conclusions from here. Everyone looks up and down [the pitlane] but McLaren and Renault are the strongest Michelin runners at the moment - I hope to be fairly close. We have to wait to see how it pans out, but I am still reasonably confident.

Is that good? (Laughs) We will have a next front wing in Malaysia; this wing will only be used for one race. There will be a constant updates on the car; it's a good solution, and the best solution we have in the wind tunnel now! You will see all the cars evolve very quickly; the rest of the update will be there in Melbourne They will have been tested statically, so there will not be reliability issues.

I think he will like the improvement - he always struggled with understeer. Jarno felt the front was much stronger, but probably with the rear of the car was not so sure. What was limiting was still limiting for him, but in general the car has got more grip.

They have opposite problems with opposite ends! (Laughs) These 2005 cars are inherently unstable when they brake in the mid to high speed corners - they are very light as there are, and it is the characteristics of how the aero has gone, so that was inevitable. You have to question if it is an inherent problem - I think the problem will change from circuit to circuit - in Valencia you can do quick laps, but in Barcelona you need 5 laps before the tyres get to work.

Barcelona is a difficult place to get used to at the moment, as it changes so quickly; they have taken the bumps off [the notorious bumps at turns one and four have been removed], so it is better in some places. It is strange as the lap times are pretty quick actually, but what you have to do to get one is very strange, with how the tyres and circuit normally work. They do a quick lap, and then back off for a while before they can do another quick lap.

I don't think we have been to another circuit which behaves like that; it used be such an abrasive circuit you had trouble making the tyre live, trouble making them last the first lap! Now you can do 40 laps and they are fine - Jarno's quickest time was done on tyres which had done 50 laps, and they looked like new! I think you have to be very careful about the conclusion you draw from here - you just don't wear the tyres any more.

We have to be challenging the top group of Michelin runners; McLaren and Renault look pretty strong, so we need some steps to move up to them. We have to look to race ahead of the rest of them.

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Q & A with Mike Gascoyne

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