Many F1 observers expect that Ferrari will be the team to beat at Imola this weekend, but Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne says the Scuderia will have to outdo his Cologne-based team before it can challenge championship leaders Renault.

Many F1 observers expect that Ferrari will be the team to beat at Imola this weekend, but Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne says the Scuderia will have to outdo his Cologne-based team before it can challenge championship leaders Renault.


Toyota’s Jarno Trulli currently lies second in the driver’s championship standings and the team is closely behind Renault in the constructors’ title race. Gascoyne this week said that Ferrari could not expect to have an easy path to regaining its winning form.


"Of course they'll be strong at Imola," he told Crash.net. "They'll come back, but they're a long way behind us, and even further behind Renault. The thing for Ferrari is if they're looking to race Renault for the championship, they've got to get past us first. And that's going to be pretty difficult. So it's not straightforward."


Gascoyne said that the team's pair of second places meant that it now arrived at every race believing that it could win: "It's about how quickly you can develop. We've got a lot of new bits coming along, but the others will as well. On the engine side we've got to push harder. We've got to do everything. We're only a couple of tenths off Renault. You've really got to look at it up until two laps after the first stop in Bahrain. We were three seconds behind after 21 laps, so that's the time difference.


It is said that success at Imola depends on a car's ability to deal with the circuit's kerbs. Toyota traditionally struggles at the track, but Gascoyne says the TF105 is up to the challenge.


"Kerb riding is an important factor at Imola," said Gascoyne. "This has been a weak point for Toyota in the past but with the progress we have made this year and the improved handling of the TF105, I don't think it will be such a problem this weekend."


Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, is eager to score his first podium finish for the team at Imola: "I always enjoy returning to Imola. I claimed my first grand prix win there in 2001 and I have enjoyed success at the track ever since. It would be nice to think I can maintain that record this year with Toyota, even if Imola has not been a kind circuit to the team in the past."


"It is one of the most technically demanding tracks on the calendar, with lots of long straights and slow corners," he added. "That means the brakes take a pounding but our braking performance was strong in Bahrain so we should be confident. After (finishing) fifth in Malaysia and fourth in Bahrain, the next podium should be mine! That's certainly what I'll be aiming for."


Trulli added: "Expectations are obviously very high now but we have to keep our feet on the ground. Despite the fact that I'm racing at home, I'm not a fan of the Imola circuit. The most important factors for performance are braking stability and traction, but the weather will be colder than the last two races and in the past Toyota has struggled over the kerbs. Still, the TF105 has improved a lot and with further aerodynamic updates coming for the weekend, we should aim to score more points."

Original article from Car