’B’ Toyota to race in 2005?

UPDATE #2 It is now very unlikely that Toyota will debut its 'b' spec 2005 car at the Brazilian grand prix. The Cologne based team can blame the English rain. Ralf Schumacher was all set to do back-to-back runs in a regular TF105 and its updated successor on Thursday — and then the Silverstone skies opened.

''The rain made it impossible to get a realistic idea of the relative performance,'' said the German. Toyota admit that while the 'b' car has a new suspension system, it might not actually be any quicker than the current racer.

Olivier Panis spent the week in the TF105B, and says major technical trouble of the pre-Monza test now seems sorted out. ''It seems to have less understeer than the old car,'' said the French tester, ''and more front grip in general.''

Toyota's technical coordinator Keizo Takahashi, though, is reported to have said the chances of a Brazilian debut is 'very minute.

09/15/05 Toyota's 'b' car might be used in the final three grands prix of the season after all. It was earlier reported that the heavily revised car, which had been intended for a Monza debut, had been scrapped after terminal vibration problems with a reworked front suspension system.

But Cologne based technical director Mike Gascoyne now says the problems – which were not as serious as first thought – have now been addressed. ''It all depends on how well it goes with this test,'' Gascoyne told Autosport at Silverstone. We will have two cars ready and we intend to race the two cars for the next three races.''

There is, however, some speculation that while the new Toyota might mechanically now be sound, it is not significantly quicker than the regular TF105 contender. Indeed, on Wednesday, it was actually slower than the old car. Gascoyne also ruled out a 'b' car debut in Japan or China, because air freight from the next Brazilian grand prix heads straight to Suzuka, and so on.

''If we are to introduce it at all,'' he told the website, ''we have to do that in Brazil. We will decide (on Thursday).''

09/14/05 Contrary to some reports, Toyota's 'b' version 2005 racer may not yet be a dead duck.

After a brief test run for the TF105B recently, Jarno Trulli told the media that problems with the radical front suspension had made a grand prix debut near impossible.

However, the car made an appearance at the Silverstone test on Tuesday, and chief engineer Dieter Gass insisted that the plan – if improbable – was to race it later this year.

''I don't know about Brazil,' he admitted, ''because I am not sure we could have a second car ready as quickly (as that). Much more important for us is that this is a development car for next year, so the work we do on (it) won't be lost.''

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