Q+A Luca Marmorini

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Panasonic Toyota Racing today unveiled its new TF107 challenger at the Expo XXI conference centre in Cologne, Germany. Toyota is the only one of the 11 F1 teams to go into the new season with the same engine, the same tyre partner, and the same two race drivers. That unique degree of continuity will enable the team to hit the ground running and build on the experience gained over recent seasons. Here follows the interview with Luca Marmorini, Senior General Manager Engine.

How much of a challenge was the first year of V8s?

“It was definitely a big challenge! Even though the FIA tried to keep as much as possible of the internal single cylinder details of the V10, basically it was a completely new engine. This is why we at Toyota had an engine on the dyno quite early, and also on the track. We had an engine on the dyno on 21 March, and the first engine on the track was late July. Nevertheless, during the year we suffered some issues in terms of how the engine worked with the rest of the car. This meant that lessons were learned by the whole team, and proved how big a big challenge the change to V8s was.”

Were you basically happy with the way things worked out?

“If you see the engine on its own, I would say we are happy in terms of performance. But if I look at the reliability we suffered as a team, as a package, then of course we’re not happy.”

What was the major issue in the change from V10 to V8?

“We found that for some reason a lot of minor details that had lost importance during the V10 era became important again in terms of stopping the car. Small things like a shaft driving a pump, or the radiator fixings. No-one had to worry about details like these in the last two or three years of the V10, but they experienced a different loading condition on a V8. This was basically the fee to pay in the first year of the V8s and hopefully this year we won’t experience anything like it.”

How much did the forthcoming engine freeze influence your thinking last year?

“First of all, the uncertainties influenced us a lot. For a long time it was not clear what was planned, which for us meant keeping a lot of parallel projects alive to try to cover everything. That was the first issue. Secondly, there was the idea of introducing a rev limiter but, even if this was discussed before, no-one thought it would go to 19,000rpm. We planned to introduce an engine during last season that was designed to rev much higher. It was an engine to finish the season with, and then properly introduce for 2007. Once it was clear that we had to homologate an engine in 2006 for 2007, we had to stop, so it was a big waste of resources and time.”

When did you really start to focus on the homologation engine?

“After Nurburgring we started to think about our development based on 2007, and definitely in the last four or five races – from Monza on – all our evolutions were strictly constrained by thinking about 2007. I think it was the same for other teams as well.”

You handed the FIA the ‘reference’ engine in Brazil last year. Are you happy with it as a base for the next few years?

“We think it’s a good base, but as a racing team we were not happy about development restrictions because we were thinking of a lot of development we wanted to carry out. The FIA has limited the possibility of re-tuning, which means that a lot of planned development that should have gone on the engine had to be stopped. As an engineer, this is something that I don’t like!”

What can you gain from the new partnership with Williams?

“From the engine point of view we are doubling the chance to tune reliability and so on. They should be a good benchmark, so I can collect double the data, and from an engine point of view that’s important for us. I think also our chassis colleagues can learn a little bit, and will be better able to judge the positive aspects of our car. Both Williams and Toyota will have a benchmark.”

What’s your overall feeling about the 2007 package?

“We have worked a lot, and the team has improved. We are confident that our performance was much better than what we showed last year as an average. If you have a slow package, you are always slow. We had some spikes on several occasions that showed when everything was working the right way at the right moment, we could definitely be competitive. After Renault and Ferrari I think you could put us in the pool of cars battling for third. This means that we are confident this year’s car will be very fast. There are a lot of potentially very good candidates so it will be quite challenging. We have done a good job, but as usual we’ll understand in March how well the others have done too.”

Source Toyota Pictures of the new TF107:
http://www.f1technical.net/gallery/v/To ... 07/Launch/