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To Toyota, yours Trulli
January 16, 2009 16:50 IST
"I can feel this year is going to be right," he told reporters by telephone after the Internet launch of the team's new TF109 car.
"I feel with the right car I am going to deliver the good results they expect from me. Somehow I am confident, even in this climate of tension, distraction and difficulties. I feel quite relaxed and that I can do it. Let's see what can happen."
Toyota have been among Formula One's biggest spenders since their debut in 2002 but so far have gathered just eight podium finishes.
Trulli, 34, has taken half of those top-three placings and the former race winner with Renault [Images] is now the team's longest serving driver since joining in 2004.
The Italian recognised that the season could be of critical importance to the team's future, with Toyota now the only Japanese manufacturer on the starting grid after the departure of Honda and failed Super Aguri in the face of the global financial crisis.
"I believe Toyota are committed to Formula One but they are only committed if there is a reason to stay in F1. And that means being one of the top teams," said the Italian.
"This is a key season for teams like Toyota as we believe there is finally enough experience to be on top. That is what we have to do, to deliver on the results."
Toyota were fifth in the constructors' standings last season. Trulli took their first podium since 2006 and German team mate Timo Glock [Images] then finished runner-up in Hungary.
"I feel Toyota have come to an age and a situation where we really need to deliver," said the Italian. "We need to do that in order to justify the reason to stay in F1. I won't say it is vital, but it is very, very important nowadays.
"In the past few seasons, Toyota were a little bit up and down. But we had a good season last year, with good performance and a good atmosphere, and I hope we can now deliver good results.
"It's time to make a step and join the top three teams."
Toyota decided to launch their car on the Internet in support of cost-cutting measures but there was no doubting the continued enthusiasm of their supporters.
A team spokesman said the website received some 236,000 hits in the first half-hour of the presentation with the servers buckling under the strain.
In keeping with the new regulations, the car features wider front wings, a narrower rear and slick tyres to reduce the reliance on aerodynamic grip and encourage overtaking.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage
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