Toyota chief wants results

Toyota has been told that it must start delivering results this season if its parent company is not to question the massive investment it is making into the sport. That is the message from the Japanese manufacturer's vice-president Akihiko Saito, who says the team can no longer continue to justify its existence without at least a podium finish to its name

Toyota chief wants results

Although Toyota has not previously set itself bold performance targets, instead claiming that it merely wanted to achieve respectability, Saito has now indicated that the time has come for targets to be met on the track.

With highly-rated designer Mike Gascoyne having had complete input into the design of the TF105, which is due to be unveiled this weekend, and the team having decided to take high-profile drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, Saito has indicated that there are no longer any excuses for failure.

"F1 has been harder than we expected," said Saito in an interview with Japanese media. "But that just means that it's a challenge worthy of our attentions. However, we can't afford to keep going without getting better results. We have simply invested too much money in the project."

Saito is no stranger to the F1 activities, having made appearances at grands prix and having driven last year's TF104B at Suzuka during a special Toyota Motorsports Festival late last year.

"Driving a car like this is such fun," he said. "That's why I've been so frustrated this season. Next year I demand a podium finish."

Although Saito's comments should not be viewed as a quit threat from the company, it is clear that the pressure is mounting on the Cologne-based outfit to start delivering - and that failure to do so could result in a greater need for the team to become self-sufficient.

The team does have high hopes for stronger showings in 2005, however. Speaking before Christmas, Trulli said he was optimistic that the outfit would make a major step-forward from its relatively disappointing 2004 form.

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