MF1 Racing heads into the 2006 season secure in the knowledge that it will enjoy great service from engine partner Toyota. Last season was characterised by the superb finishing record of the EJ15, owing in so small part to the reliability of Toyota’s V10. This year, MF1 Racing will use the same new V8 used by the works team, and everyone at Midland is relishing the prospect.
Toyota was among the first manufacturers to get its prototype V8 onto the track, and was also the first to test it in a definitive 2006 car, way back in November. MF1 will clearly benefit from the extensive development already performed by Toyota engine wizard Luca Marmorini and his team.
“Toyota are fantastic,” says MF1 Sporting Director Adrian Burgess. “The service we get from a customer point of view is second to none. You couldn’t go and buy a better package than what we’ve got. The fact that they are such a big and committed team obviously helps us, as we quickly see the results of the development they’re putting into their own engine.
“They have so much technology and so many resources that are becoming more and more available to us as our relationship with Toyota grows. Some of the things that are being offered to us are fantastic, and I could not imagine receiving that sort of technical support from another supplier.”
Having a second team on the grid will, of course, enable Toyota to amass a lot of mileage with the V8, and that, in turn, will speed up development.
“For sure,” says Burgess. “We experienced issues with our engine last year that they learned from, and it helped them to improve their engine. All the information we gather is useful to them, as well.”
MF1’s design team were given the dimensions and specifications of the new engine at a very early stage, allowing them to develop the new M16 around it. In contrast, last year’s Toyota V10 had to be shoehorned into a modified Jordan chassis that had originally been designed to take a Cosworth.
“Information was exchanged with our drawing office as soon as the deal was confirmed. We’ve had mock-up engines since around August or September, and we began running it in the interim car in the middle of December. Toyota have been very helpful with our installation.”
Of course, one of the most fascinating aspects of the relationship is that the M16 and Toyota’s own TF106 will not only be powered by the same engine, the will also run on the same Bridgestone tyres. No other teams in this year’s championship share both of those key elements.
“It’s going to be very interesting,” adds Burgess, smiling confidently.