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