Toyota Blame Michelin for Poor Result

Toyota boss Tsutomu Tomita has blamed tyre supplier Michelin for his team losing ground to Ferrari in their fight for third place in the Constructors' Championship

Toyota Blame Michelin for Poor Result

The Japanese manufacturer only managed to take a single point with Ralf Schumacher's eighth place finish, while Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello managed to extend their team's edge over Toyota with fourth and sixth places.

And Tomita believes the team could have done much better if Schumacher had not had his qualifying performance hampered by a set of under-steering Michelin tyres.

"It was good that Ralf made the points but he could have had so much more," said Tomita. "During qualifying he had some severe understeer on his car because he was not satisfied with his particular set of tyres.

"We are very disappointed that this happened, but because of the strong racing and commercial relationship between Michelin and Toyota over many years we are confident that this situation will not arise again.

"Ralf should have started further up the grid and it certainly didn't help his race balance, so in the circumstances he did very well."

Schumacher admitted that the understeer problems he had suffered with his set of tyres in qualifying meant the team had to compromise their set-up for the race.

"That was a pretty tough race for us today," he said. "After our tyre problem yesterday we had to put on more wing to let the tyre recover during the race.

"But the car was very difficult to drive all race, especially early on. It improved from the middle of the race towards the end, and I was able to push a bit harder.

"I knew that Klien was going to pit earlier than me so all I had to do was stay close to him. Then I was lucky because I had to let Raikkonen past during my crucial extra laps but I didn't lose too much time. After all that, one point is better than nothing."

Jarno Trulli's weekend to forget in Brazil ended with a late-race retirement with a pneumatic problem.  He had started 18th due to an engine change before qualifying, and then lost time early in the race avoided the start-line accident.

"It has been a weekend where everything went wrong for me," he said. "First we had the engine change yesterday which lost me ten places on the grid. Then I had to avoid the incident at the start of the race where I almost got hit by a spinning car.

"My race really lasted only a few laps when I was out of traffic and I was able to do some good lap times. The rest of the time we were quick but not quick enough to overtake cars at the only place you can here, on the straight. So that was a weekend to forget, but we'll hope to do better at Suzuka in a fortnight."

The only good news for Trulli is that his late-race retirement means that he will get a fresh engine for the Japanese Grand Prix.

But Tomita is well aware that it is now harder for them to think of closing the gap to Ferrari.

"It all means it is now very difficult to chase third position in the Constructors' Championship, but we will keep pushing. We are especially keen to show our best performance at home in Japan in two weeks' time."

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