Wednesday June 13th, 2001
The Toyota team are hoping to fight for the Formula One Championship in 2006, according to the Japanese outfit's boss Ove Andersson.
Toyota, the world's third biggest car manufacturer, will make its official Grand Prix debut at the start of the 2002 season after spending 2001 carrying out an extensive testing programme at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, where the team have established their base, and other tracks of the Formula One calendar.
Having recently tested at the Imola circuit, which allowed them to compare their performance to that of the current teams for the first time, Andersson admitted they expect to be able to fight for the title within five years.
"We are confident we will be able to qualify well and to finish a hugh number of races in our first season," Andersson told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport. "The following year we will aim to get some point finishes.
"In 2004 and 2005, as well as increasing our finishes in the points, we will also be looking to reach the podium, and in 2006 we will be going for the title."
Andersson also said that, despite having two experienced drivers like Finn Mika Salo and Scot Allan McNish to develop their car this year, Toyota's drivers line-up for 2002 is still unclear.
"It's too early to be sure about our driver line-up for the future. However, one thing is for sure, we're not looking for star names. What we need are solid drivers who want to work hard at developing our cars.
"The key quality is the ability to understand any defects in the cars and to be able to suggest the necessary modifications that will lead to overall improvement."