From Toyota Wiki
|Auto racing||Formula One|
|Automotive design||Gustav Brunner|
|Chassis||carbon-fibre and honeycomb composite Monocoque|
|Suspension (front)||Push rod with Torsion bar|
|Suspension (rear)||Push rod with Torsion bar|
|Internal combustion engine||Toyota RVX-04|
|Transmission (mechanics)||Six Gear, Semi-Automatic|
|Notable entrants||Panasonic Toyota Racing|
|Notable drivers|| Olivier Panis|
Cristiano da Matta
|Debut||2004 Australian Grand Prix|
The Toyota TF104 was a Formula One car used by the Toyota F1 team during the 2004 Formula One season.
The car was the third and final Gustav Brunner designed Toyota in Formula One, and it was considered as another "evolutionary step" up from its predecessor the TF103, which in turn had been labelled a "evolutionary step" up from the TF102 used in 2002.
The car was initially driven by the same pairing as in 2003; Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta. However by the time the season came to a conclusion, both drivers had been replaced by Italy's Jarno Trulli and the team's Brazilian ex-test driver Ricardo Zonta respectively.
Development on the car had began in earnest, some ten months prior to its unveiling. Upon launch, designer Gustav Brunner said; "The TF103 was a highly competitive package. Unfortunately, we couldn't get all of the performance out of it. Theoretically, the TF104 is an evolutionary step up from the TF103, but in fact, the TF104 shares not a single part that we used with the TF103. We improved every single inch of the chassis, and redesigned every important internal component. We achieved a great leap ahead aerodynamically, made the car lighter overall, and increased the rigidity of the chassis".
This continued approach was deemed to be too unambitious by many critics and this was confirmed by the overall performance of the car. Ultimately, this led to Brunner's dismissal mid-way through the season and it was the former Jordan Grand Prix and Renault F1 Technical Director Mike Gascoyne who came in to replace him.
Known for his ability to assess weaknesses, and re-invigorate a team, Gascoyne started work immediately on revising the TF104.
The resulting TF104B chassis couldn't be considered revolutionary either, but neither was it supposed to be with Gascoyne merely working to try to eradicate some of the initial conceptual flaws in the Brunner design. The revised car was introduced at the 2004 German Grand Prix to some positive effect, but rather than continue on that upward trend, Gascoyne ordered the freezing of any further development to concentrate on the upcoming TF105 chassis to be used in the 2005 Formula One season.
Overall the car and the season was considered to be a disaster, with the team, now in its third season of competition managing only a second consecutive eighth place Constructors Championship finish. The ramifications of the car's poor performance reared its ugly head with some key departures; technical director Gustav Brunner was fired mid-season and Cristiano da Matta soon followed having been blamed himself for lacklustre performances.
With the arrival of Mike Gascoyne as technical director, alongside the announcements of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher for 2005 Formula One season it could be argued that the Toyota F1 operation took on a slightly different feel over the course of the 2004 season.