Ove Andersson Q&A

Toyota confirmed this week that Mika Salo will spearhead its F1 programme when the marque enters the World Championship in 2002. Next season the Finn will join former F3 rival Allan McNish for a year of testing, commencing when the first prototype is ready to run in March. Meanwhile Toyota's already impressive facility in Cologne is being extended, with priority going to the new wind tunnel. Adam Cooper spoke to Swedish team boss Ove Andersson, who has been with the car giant since 1972.

Ove Andersson Q&A



"No doubt, this is an incredible challenge, especially at my age! It's just unbelievable, but I'm really enjoying it. It's a fantastic opportunity and challenge."



"We are building new facilities, we are building a new team with new team members, and so on. Everything for the moment is just an uphill struggle. I don't think you can say which is the biggest challenge; overall the biggest thing we have is just to get the team up and running and to get the people to work together, and after that we can start to progress with the car and the programme."



"I believe that if you are looking at it seriously the engine today is a very important part of a F1 car. It's not the chassis and the engine; it's the package with the engine and the chassis. If you have the opportunity to design, construct and integrate the engine and the chassis together, I think for sure it will be an advantage, like Ferrari is doing. And everything is under one roof, so communication is easier. But we will see."



"We have added a lot of experienced F1 people to out staff. I think what we're trying to do is build on that infrastructure that we had in the company for our previous projects, and then we had the expertise to this. So what I hope is that since we already have this structure, we can work around it. We have a lot of people who are used to working together, and I'm sure that this in the end should help us."



"We have the basis, and I hope we will be able to at least continue this spirit from out rallying and GT experience."



"I don't know at the moment. It's very difficult to say. But I see a lot of advantages by being in Germany, because we are very central. We don't have to go across the channel when we want to go somewhere. Many circuits are basically within less than a day's drive from our facilities, and from that point of view I'm sure it's an advantage. Okay, there is maybe also some disadvantage in that there is a lot of expertise in the UK that might be reluctant to move to Germany to work for us, but we have to wait and see. The mind of a racing engineer is that he wants to work where he can have good opportunities to work, and I believe this is what we should be able to offer in a little while."



"We have Japanese engineers working in the facility, and work very closely together in specific development areas with the factory. With today's communications systems we can have a daily dialogue with the specialists in the factory."



"Yes, we are building the engines in Germany. They are also being designed in Germany, but partly by Japanese engineers, and partly by German or English engineers. We have the expertise in materials and special treatments, and with all this kind of thing we also get help from Japan."



"I think so. We will need two test drivers when we get going next year."



"A guarantee if we can see that he will be able to do it, and I'm sure he will be."



"For sure we will have a Japanese driver within some years, but at the moment we are full of drivers!"



"I think it's very difficult to win in rallying, but it's also very, very difficult to win in F1, so we shouldn't underestimate the task we have in front of us. For sure not."



"I think the Le Mans programme was basically the stepping stone for this. I think we showed what we can do, and I'm very proud of it."

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