Mäkinen to decide whether the existing Yaris WRC is any good

TMG Yaris WRC Test 19th-21st March 2014. Italy.

That didn’t take long: yesterday we were left hanging, with unanswered questions concerning big changes happening in and around Toyota’s WRC project, today some answers are already here. I know Tommi Mäkinen is fast, but this is genuinely nice to see. They could have remained silent, of course, but they didn’t and I like that. There are still open issues and lingering doubts, but let’s give them some time and see if they’re ready to provide even more information about what, probably, went wrong with the original plan. Maybe it was nothing, but I doubt that. Based on the tone of all official comments and statements, I feel some goals were not met and company intervened. I guess it’s a good thing we’re not dealing with a random small manufacturer, who would be risking too much by throwing away time and money like this. Instead we have this gigantic corporation whose president is directly involved in this particular project, so even if they do proceed and scrap everything TMG did with the current prototype and technology, there is obviously still enough time and undoubtedly more than enough money to support such sweeping changes. Still, I wonder why did they choose to paint everything so gray-ish, TMG will want to keep their (and subsequently Toyota’s) clients and projects in the future, unless changes are coming their way too.

On the other hand, maybe I should just let it go. It’s interesting, to me at least, to think about possible causes and consequences, but perhaps we should just focus on the good stuff and let the politics be politics and sport be sport. Tommi sounds ready to embark on this new challenge, according to an article on WRC.com, even if that means building a brand new car, from scratch. Which brings us back to politics and questions, I know, but what can you do. Is this supposed to be some kind of a cliffhanger, giving us some info but never enough? Current car did plenty of testing, but apparently, testing and development derailed at some point, not completely, but enough to justify sending this car to scrapyard and building a new one. It’s not a rocket science, after all, is it? With direct Toyota’s input and using what (little) usable knowledge TMG gathered during their stint, Mäkinen could quickly make up time and start passing important milestones. Hopefully they’ll be able to use at least something, like a piece of suspension or a turbine bolt or… a gearbox paddle.

But what exactly did go wrong? Argh!

Before I wrap this one up, another question for Toyota: According to you, new team is called Toyota GAZOO Racing and Tommi Mäkinen is team’s principal? Is this the offical team name? No “World Rally Team” or “WRC” suffixes in it, nothing? Because when you google Toyota GAZOO Racing, you don’t get that many useful results, at least if you’re not fluent in Japanese. If Toyota wants all motor sport programmes to go by the same GAZOO name, is Tommi going to steer all those projects, both in Europe and Japan, on rally stages and race circuits? In short, how do we tell one GAZOO from the other?

Full article on WRC.com here.