By: Jeremy McMullen
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By: Jeremy McMullen
| If there is one team in Formula One that is the most paradoxical it would have to be the Toyota team. Year after year Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes throw hundreds of millions of dollars into their team and prove to be an almost unbeatable one-two punch. Toyota invests probably as much or more, and yet, a celebration like no other breaks out when the team merely gets on the podium. Toyota has proven to be the worst return on investment—amazing given the company's passenger cars. Toyota has been the exception—money doesn't translate into success. This has to be the most confusing thing. It isn't that they don't have the resources. The problem has to lie someplace else.
Since the debut of the team back in 2002 and until 2007 the team has only been able to amass 163 points. Now of course there have been teams that have been around for longer in Formula One's history that would have loved to have scored that many points. But to truly get an idea how justified Toyota's critics are some more numbers are needed to put things in the correct perspective.
Granted, both McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari have been around for much longer and that pays dividends when developing a winning team. However, Toyota is throwing as much money at their team, if not more, than these two championship winning teams. So, it only takes a comparison of Toyota to McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari during the period of 2002—2007 to get an idea of how bad things really are. From 2002—2007, Toyota, as a team, has accounted for a total of 163 points. During that same period McLaren-Mercedes earned 568, with the 2007 points total being thrown out due to a cheating scandal. To really put things in the proper perspective Toyota has only to be compared with Ferrari. From 2002—2007, Ferrari has amassed a total of 1,146 points! Clearly, money helps make any team successful. But, it's how that money is invested that makes all the difference.
Toyota, however, is hoping its investment in its design, the TF108, will pay off big dividends. Overall, the TF108 is a bit different than its 2007 predecessor. Instead of a high, narrow nose the 2008 design sports a wider more drooping nose. Over the course of last season Toyota developed an upper wing profile that was blended into the nose. Interestingly, this design idea was abandoned but picked up on by Ferrari. Instead, Toyota abandoned the incorporated upper wing and nose profile and instead went after and adopted a design that spans the entire length over the nose like that on the McLaren Mercedes.