New Toyota ready first

Toyota looks set to win the fight to be the first Formula 1 team to have its 2005 car finished, with the Japanese manufacturer aiming at completing its TF105 around Christmas time

New Toyota ready first

The car will be the first that has been designed from the outset by technical director Mike Gascoyne, who joined the team from Renault last year too late to have any major influence over this year's relatively unsuccessful TF104.

With Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher coming on board for 2005, the outfit's chiefs have high hopes for a dramatic step forward in pace next year - something that Gascoyne is optimistic he can achieve.

The Briton, who helped transform the fortunes of Jordan and Benetton during his previous spells as a technical director, believes he can already see history repeating itself with Toyota.

Speaking about the 2004 campaign, which left Toyota eighth overall in the constructors' championship behind Jaguar, Gascoyne told autosport.com: "It has been a very difficult year, but I think the team worked very well.

"I'm sure we've got a good race team and given a good race car we could win races. This year was always going to be like this, but it's the same situation I had at Benetton in 2001. We had, back then, only one good result at the end of a very difficult year and had [Ricardo] Zonta's engine not blown up in Spa, we would have done exactly the same this year.

"What we have to deliver now is the same amount of progress for 2005 that we had at Benetton from 2001 to 2002."

Although the exact finishing date for the Toyota has not been finalised, the team is hoping to have it running from the very first day of testing in January - although even that date has not been set in stone because agreement amongst the teams about when testing can resume is 2005 has yet to be reached.

It is believed some of the major teams would like testing to resume after Christmas in the first week of January, although others are happy to wait until the second week of the month.

Toyota's marketing team will have to fit its launch event around the testing programme because the team does not want to lose any chance at getting valuable mileage under its belt.

It is understood that Toyota's plan is for the car that runs in January to feature only the definitive 2005 mechanical package - with the final Melbourne-spec aero package not being unveiled until the final test before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

A majority of teams are expected to launch their cars in January, once 2005 testing is already under way.

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