Formula 1: New Year, New Car

Jan. 1, 2020
COLOGNE, GERMANY (Aug. 30, 2007) - Panasonic Toyota Racing (PTR) is the only one of the 11 Formula 1 (F1) race teams that began the 2007 season with the same engine, the same tire partner, and the same two race drivers ...
(Editor's note: The following article is the first in an in-depth series that looks at Formula 1 through the experiences of  Panasonic Toyota Racing.)READ THIS
New Year, New Car
Pit crew in action.
Photo: Panasonic Toyota Racing
COLOGNE, GERMANY (Aug. 30, 2007) - Panasonic Toyota Racing (PTR) is the only one of the 11 Formula 1 (F1) race teams that began the 2007 season with the same engine, the same tire partner, and the same two race drivers. That unique degree of continuity, the team believes, will enable it to build on the experience gained over recent seasons. PTR began the improvement process with the introduction of its new race car, the TF107 Challenger. "Our fundamental challenge this year is to get the first victory," says Chairman and Team Principal Tsutomu Tomita. "I know all the other teams are working very hard, particularly the Top 3. We have five years' experience in F1, but still we are young in comparison with the top teams; therefore we have to be modest about it. But we would like to challenge them."
Side view (above) and top view (below) of the 2007 TF107 Challenger. Photo: Panasonic Toyota Racing

The team has also been strengthened in its quest for success by the arrival of George Tadashi Yamashina, who took over as vice chairman of Toyota Motorsport in December 2006. Yamashina will compliment the roles of Tomita and PRT President John Howett, forming a management trio tintent on leading PTR to success. Yamashina notes, "We have improved in all areas: aerodynamics, suspension and gear change."

"Our ambition has always been to win. That, to me, is why we are here and why we are racing," agrees Howett. "I think we built a fairly good platform in 2005, and last year we didn't move forward sufficiently from that platform. I think in terms of speed, we had the third-quickest package on the grid. Looking at race pace and qualifying pace, we were closing the gap on Renault toward the end of the season, but Ferrari was still in front. Although the results didn't show it last year, I think we are now capable of running with the top teams in terms of speed." 

Although the team had a frustrating 2006 season, in the spirit of the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, or "continuous improvement," the new car benefits from all the knowledge and experience gained. With the right people in place and the will to win, the TF107 is the product of the team's potential.

While there is continuity in other areas, the TF107 is a completely new car, with virtually no parts carried over from the TF106 and TF106B that preceded it. "We have addressed reliability this year," Howett confirms. "And we have resolved issues like the launch system - which we fixed at the end of last season, and which cost us dearly. We're improving the car, flat out, all the time.

"It's pretty extensively changed in terms of basic layout," Howett continues. "When we went from the V10 to the V8, the back of the engine effectively stayed in the same place, and the chassis and fuel tank filled the space where the front two cylinders of the V10 were. Now we've moved to engine forward, and yet worked really hard to still have a big tank. The gearbox is longer, and we will run a seamless shift for the first time."

Aerodynamics is also a big focus, he says, with a lot of the chassis layout designed to give better aero opportunity. 

"The whole monocoque concept has been modified in terms of height and how it sits," Howett explains. "Before it was quite a low car; now it's higher. We have improved the suspension, and we have some interesting developments in the pipeline that we hope will give us performance."

In 2006, Toyota made the switch to Bridgestone tires, giving PTR a head start in cooperating for when the Japanese tire manufacturer becomes the sole supplier this year. The experience gained in adapting to new tires will benefit the team and help PTR get the maximum performance possible. 

"By going to a single tire supplier, we have learned a lot about tire treatment, particularly in regard to their interaction with temperature, suspension geometry, chassis and down force," Tomita says.

TF107 Technical Specifications

Engine Designation


Number of cylinders





Approximately 740bhp


Maximum 19,000 RPM, as required by FIA rules

Valve actuation


Throttle actuation


Spark plugs






Monocoque construction

Molded carbon fiber and honeycomb construction

Fuel tank

ATL safety cell

Front suspension

Carbon fiber double wishbone arrangement, with carbon fiber trackrod and pushrod

Rear suspension

Carbon fiber double wishbone arrangement, with carbon fiber toe link and pushrod




BBS forged magnesium


Bridgestone Potenza

Brake calipers


Brake master cylinders


Braking material

Hitco (carbon/carbon)


Toyota power-assisted steering

Steering wheel

Toyota carbon fiber wheel with Toyota / Magneti Marelli instrument

Driver?s seat

Carbon fiber construction, molded to driver?s shape

Driver restraints


Driver HANSdevice

Toyota design

Electronic systems

Toyota / Magneti Marelli


7-speed unit plus reverse



Overall length


Overall height


Overall width


Overall weight

600kg, including driver and camera

(Source: Toyota Motorsport GmbH)

Sponsored Recommendations

Best Body Shop and the 360-Degree-Concept

Spanesi ‘360-Degree-Concept’ Enables Kansas Body Shop to Complete High-Quality Repairs

How Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrow Collision Center, Achieves Their Spot-On Measurements

Learn how Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrison Collision Center, equipped their new collision facility with “sleek and modern” equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas...

ADAS Applications: What They Are & What They Do

Learn how ADAS utilizes sensors such as radar, sonar, lidar and cameras to perceive the world around the vehicle, and either provide critical information to the driver or take...

Banking on Bigger Profits with a Heavy-Duty Truck Paint Booth

The addition of a heavy-duty paint booth for oversized trucks & vehicles can open the door to new or expanded service opportunities.