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Toyota: Wrong Tire Strategy Led to Disappointing Weekend

Toyota must surely be disappointed on missing out on their very first Formula 1 win the past weekend. While putting both its driver on the front row of the Bahrain Grand Prix, all Toyota got from it was a 3rd place from veteran Jarno Trulli. While trying to explain the Sunday misfortune, team president John Howett agreed the fault rested entirely with the tires.

Both pole sitter Trulli and second placed on the grid Timo Glock took on a low fuel strategy for the Sakhir race, so it was quite obvious they'll stop for refuel sooner than the rest of the pack. They also took on the super-soft compound in order to secure a comfortable gap between them and 3rd placed Button, but that didn't quite make it.

As argued by Howett, the Toyota duo should have stayed longer on the track during the super-soft stint. Combined with a poor run with the medium tires later on, the TF109s couldn't have possibly challenged for the race win on Sunday.

We should have gone with the soft tire for the longer stint. We had the option to go three stop or two stop. On three we would have been stuck in traffic, so we decided to go for two. And we were worried that the soft tire would probably not hold out with the heavier fuel load and the conditions. I think strategically it was wrong. We were slower on the harder tire, and I think that is where we lost most of the advantage,” admitted Howett in an interview for British magazine Autosport.

Nevertheless, the Toyota chief argued the poor strategic moves in Bahrain will only make them stronger for the races to come. He therefore expressed his hope that the disappointment over the Sakhir results will translate into determination to succeed during the upcoming grands prix. Not to talk about the incredible turn in mentality for a team that was so far content with scoring a podium.

I think it is positive that we are disappointed. If you look three years ago, we would have been ecstatic about finishing third, whereas now we are disappointed because we could smell the victory,” added Howett.

Toyota have scored 3 podiums out of 4 races so far (in 2009), resting 3rd overall in the constructors' classification, one point behind Red Bull Racing and 23.5 to leaders Brawn – Mercedes.
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