With nine races already in the book in the current Formula One season, Toyota is showing signs of resurgence. Early in the season, the Japanese Formula One team made a statement saying that they will be aiming to overtake third place BMW Sauber in the constructors’ championship standing before the end of the season.
The first half of the season though for the Japanese team was disappointing. Ralf Schumacher, one of the drivers for the team, has performed poorly as his car does not match his driving style.
During the last two races though, the German Formula One driver showed signs of a good performance. At the French Grand Prix, Schumacher qualified for the eleventh spot. After the race, the German finished in tenth place.
Then at the British Grand Prix, Schumacher had his best qualifying session this season as he posted the sixth fastest lap time which means he would be starting from the third row. Unfortunately, the German was not able to finish the race as his car with its Toyota engine designed to provide much more power than a conventional engine with a Toyota cold air intake suffered a malfunction.
“I retired just after one-third distance,” said Schumacher. “I felt the wheel fixation problem as I came into the complex and it was a pity because we were strong all weekend and I was confident of a good result. Our performance level was good all weekend and we really expected to finish strongly. Unfortunately, after qualifying sixth I lost positions at the start but after that I was able to set lap times which competitive with the cars in front. That showed we had the potential to fight for a top-six finish.”
Although he and his teammate Jarno Trulli were not able to finish at the British Grand Prix, Schumacher is still elated with the progress that they are making. “It’s simply that under certain circumstances our car is very competitive,” he said. “We have seen it in Barcelona and we looked good in terms of pace in Magny-Cours too, but we had problems so we didn’t get the results we wanted. We just need to extend that window a bit. I was happy for the team because they are really working hard and deserved to see an improvement. I have to say that the car has suited me well for the last two Grands Prix.”
The German will be making an appearance in front of his countrymen at the next race of the season which will be held at the Nürburgring in Nurburg, Germany. The European Grand Prix will be the only event on German soil this season.
The aim now for Schumacher is to make the best out of the second half of the season. The German Formula One driver who is rumored to be on the way out after a dismal start to the season is now looking more confident in his car. “Over the last few races I’ve become increasingly comfortable with my set-up and the whole team is working hard as we chase a successful second half of the year,” Schumacher said.
As an advocate of clean exhaust emissions, Toyota is already producing the brand-new ZR engine at the second plant of Tianjin FAW Toyota Engine Co., Ltd., as announced recently by the Tianjin Economic- Technological Development Area (TEDA).
This engine meets the tail gas emissions set-out by the Euro III standard. According to Toyota, it also has the potential to meet the Euro IV standard, will be installed in Toyota’s new Corolla. The said car will be produced at the third plant of Tianjin FAW Toyota Engine Co., Ltd. next month.
The manufacturer of the ZR engine, Tianjin FAW Toyota Engine Co. Ltd., is the core parts manufacturer of Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. The ZR engine has the characteristics of high performance yet low fuel consumption and low emissions. It ranks top among its international competitors in terms of motive power, fuel economy and environmental protection.
The environmentally-friendly engines are produced simultaneously and its output will reach 220,000 sets every year. It therefore means the Chinese market is playing an increasingly important role for Toyota and the position of Tianjin Binhai New Area is undoubtedly more and more prominent in its strategy for the China market.
Aside from the announcement of the initial production of the brand-new ZR engine, Toyota also announced today its plans to continue providing its city-gas-powered 1-kW residential fuel cell cogeneration system to Toho Gas Co., Ltd. (Toho), which is participating in the 2007 Large-Scale Stationary Fuel Cell Demonstration Project of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry by installing and monitoring the system in ordinary homes.
Toyota Motor Company’s residential fuel cell cogeneration system combines a stationary fuel cell – jointly developed with Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (Aisin) – and a hot water storage tank. TMC is going to manufacture 28 units of the system for Toho. These are planned to be installed inside the houses in three prefectures – Aichi, Gifu and Mie – of Japan’s Tokai District to collect data for a two-year period ending in March 2010.
TMC has considered global environmental preservation as a priority management issue in terms of its corporate social responsibility. Consequently, it has been actively developing technologies and marketing products that will help solve environmental problems especially air pollution. Toyota Motor Company’s continuing research and development of residential fuel cell cogeneration systems is part of this effort.
Toyota is also in the process of enhancing Toyota muffler to provide smoothness both in the engine and the exhaust.
During the three-year period from 2005 through 2007, every year, the New Energy Foundation, the organization carrying out Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Large-Scale Stationary Fuel Cell Demonstration Project, has been encouraging energy suppliers to participate in its verification project. Last year, Toyota Motor Company, as a fuel cell system manufacturer, provided 24 residential fuel cell cogeneration systems to energy supplier Toho.