Oops. Did we curse Toyota?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Toyota failed to score for the second race in a row at Monza
Toyota failed to score for the second race in a row at Monza

Three weeks ago, between the Valencia and Spa races, we did a poll on which team would finish fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Toyota dominated the voting, with over three-quarters backing them to take fourth in the constructors’ title. Since then they haven’t scored a point and their fourth place is under attack from Renault and possibly even Toro Rosso. What’s gone wrong for Toyota – and can their rivals now beat them to fourth place?

One word: rain. Toyota, rather like Ferrari, are having difficulty getting their tyres up to temperature on cold days. So the wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza were bad news for them. Here’s how the battle for fourth has changed this year:

2008 F1 constructors\' championship - battle for fourth (click to enlarge)
2008 F1 constructors' championship - battle for fourth (click to enlarge)

Meanwhile a pair of fourth places for Fernando Alonso put Renault level with Toyota on 41 points (though if the championship were to end today Jarno Trulli’s third place at Magny-Cours would put Toyota ahead).

The biggest gains in the past two races were made by Toro Rosso, who have leapt up to seventh with 27 points. According to Adam Cooper in the Autosport Journal (sub. req.) Toro Rosso switched from using Ferrari’s ‘customer’ specification engine to the ‘works’ unit (Ferrari having apparently homologated two engines) and the benefits the upgrade has brought to the team is obvious.

But will it be enough for them to catch Toyota and Renault over the final four races at Singapore, Fuji, Shanghai and Interlagos? It seems the battle for fourth in the constructors’ title isn’t as clear-cut as we thought.

2008 F1 championship points after Monza in full

27 comments on “Oops. Did we curse Toyota?”

  1. “Toyota switched from using Ferrari’s ‘customer’ specification engine to the ‘works’ unit (Ferrari having apparently homologated two engines)”

    There is a mistake here somewhere, see if you can find it ;)

  2. > Toyota, rather like Ferrari, are having
    > difficulty getting their tyres up to
    > temperature on cold days.
    When was that spy case concerning two ex-Ferrari men jumping ship to Toyota? ;)

  3. Are Toyota being cursed by using Ferrari engines? :-)

  4. It’s just a mistake , everyone knows he means STR. I wonder how Ferrrari were able to homologate 2 engines – must be because they supply customers , so the same should have applied to Renault.

  5. and why aren’t Mercedes, Toyota and BMW allowed to have customers too?

  6. “According to Adam Cooper in the Autosport Journal (sub. req.) Toyota switched from using Ferrari’s ‘customer’ specification engine to the ‘works’ unit (Ferrari having apparently homologated two engines) and the benefits the upgrade has brought to the team is obvious.”

    erm, Toyota has the Ferrari?, i’m assuming its Torro Rosso, not Toyota. But if i’m wrong my brain hurts.

  7. Keith just disclosed the biggest secret of F1 :-)

    @DG – not sure what you mean by “not allowed to have customers” – Toyota supplies engines to Williams, BMW and Mercedes simply do not have customers for their engines. whether it is because they are not interested or there is no demand that is different question

  8. @ DG
    > and why aren’t Mercedes, Toyota and BMW allowed
    > to have customers too?
    Eh, they are. They just don’t want to. Well, McLaren-Mercedes did, but they wanted Prodrive to use their car AND engine.

    On the other hand, there aren’t enough teams to become customer.

    And Toyota actually have a customer team: Williams. ;-)

  9. Tengil – fixed, thanks.

    Ferrari, Toyota and Renault are the only manufacturers that supply customer teams at the moment. There’s no rule stopping the other teams supplying customers, and of course Honda were until Super Aguri went belly-up.

  10. “though if the championship were to end today Jarno Trulli’s third place at Magny-Cours would put Toyota ahead”

    Surely Glock’s second place at Hungary, you mean? ;)

    (yes, I’m a pedant) :D

  11. STR are the dark horse for 4th.
    any more wet races and they could well do it!
    it’s strange, ferrari and toyota have more experiance than most on bridgestone tyres yet are struggling in the wet!
    hence making it a car issue

  12. If I’m not mistaken, there is a rule for how many customers a team can supply with engines. I can’t remember how Ferrari circumvented that, anyone?

  13. Pete – no, because Renault also has a second place (Piquet Jnr, Hockenheim).

  14. …forgetting Piquet’s second at Germany.

    Its way to early in the morning to try and be clever :D

    I still think Toyota have the edge in terms of car performance and if it does stay dry for most of the last four races, Renault might have a hard time keeping the pressure on.

    Toro Rosso are a good outside bet, but the downside is, the more people they beat come the end of the season, the more teams they will find contesting the customer car issue once again.

  15. “Surely Glock’s second place at Hungary, you mean?”

    No, Glock’s second place is canceled out by Piquet’s second at Hockenheim. Renault doesn’t have a third yet, so Toyota is ahead.

  16. Williams have been proper poor, haven’t they? Their line just goes nowhere.

    Toyota’s line seems to go in 3 distinct bumps, so following trends, they’re due another bump in their line over the next 4 races.

    If Toro Rosso’s line continues like that, they’ll be champions come the year’s close.

  17. Well well well, the championship seems to be deliviously exciting all through the ranks. well err, except third.

    but i have one question to Keith, ow whoever considers themselves able. you mention that Trulli’s 3rd spot would put Toyota ahead. what about Piquet’s second spot? wouldn’t it put Renault ahead in that sense or do they need an extra podium to match Toyota in that area?

    anyway whatever the case i hope the championship ends on merit at the end and not those little details.

  18. oops sorry, Deliciously exciting, and then, Or instead of ow.

  19. lugiston – oops, forgot Williams, sorry Mr Frank, sir…
    I was speaking sort of figuratively, as I know the Prodrive problems, and I was wondering if that has put off any other potential teams wanting to try having ‘Customer’ engines. That and the lack of support for the ailing SuperAguri, if you remember them…
    BMW have stated they are happy to supply other teams too, as far as I recall….

  20. ‘you mention that Trulli’s 3rd spot would put Toyota ahead. what about Piquet’s second spot? wouldn’t it put Renault ahead in that sense or do they need an extra podium to match Toyota in that area?’

    Renault and Toyota have 1 P2 each – Piquet in Germany (thanks to Glock’s crash, ironically), then Glock in Hungary.

  21. RBR fastest in testing at Jerez this weeks . VETTEL at the wheel , here’s the order : 1. S. Vettel – RBR- 1:18.001 2. N. Heidfeld – BMW- 1:18.1673. L. di Grassi – Renault- 1:18.999 (+ 0.998) 4. P. de la Rosa – McLaren MP4-23 1:19.281 (+ 1.280) 5. A. Wurz – Honda- 1:19.499 (+ 1.498)T. Sato – STR- 1:19.574 (+ 1.573) 7. K. Kobayashi – Toyota- 1:19.863 (+ 1.862)8. K. Nakajima – Williams FW30 – 1:21.892 (+ 3.891). Webber and Coulthard we know are slower than Vettel in the STR. I know testing does not always tell everything , and Williams were testing with new aero – 2009 spec rear wing – but the fact Vettel is first tells something , my point being with his skill and new found confidence the STR should end up ahead.

  22. “Renault and Toyota have 1 P2 each – Piquet in Germany (thanks to Glock’s crash, ironically)” I just HAA’d out loud.

    right so, what about Force India, one would assume they are using customer Ferrari engines, right? instead of works?

  23. as for Ferrari, historically they always sold last years engines to customers, used and lacking in power for the new year.

    going forward it would make sense for them to sell their “works” powerplant to teams such as Torro Rosso and ForceIndia half way through the season, to give competitors a huge Sutil and Vettel shaped spanner into their forecast of points and places.

  24. Works Ferrari engines and an Adrian Newey chassis? No wonder Toro Rosso are suddenly looking good…

  25. @ Sush
    > as for Ferrari, historically they always sold
    > last years engines to customers, used and lacking
    > in power for the new year.
    IIRC, both Toro Rosso and Force India/Spyker, plus Red Bull beforehand, have had the Ferrari 056 engine. Maybe they didn’t have the most recent update, until recently, though.

  26. Alianora La Canta
    19th September 2008, 20:12

    I’m not sure Force India have the latest Ferrari update now either – they’re still behind Toro Rosso and Ferrari in the speed traps, and are quite often beaten by non-Ferrari-engined teams.

  27. The Toyota-Renault-Red Bull battle is the best in F1 between teams this season-has been since Trulli finished up the order in France.
    There is no telling how this one will turn out-but it keeps you really busy during a race keeping track of 6 cars.
    Great fun.

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