2004 Toyota TF104B Formula 1 Monoposto Chassis no. TF104B-08B
Toyota first announced plans to participate in Formula 1 in January 1999 and made its debut in 2002. The new Formula 1 team grew from the Japanese manufacturer's established Toyota Motorsport GmbH organisation, based in Germany. Unusually, Toyota opted to start its own works team from scratch rather than collaborate with an established chassis manufacturer or racing team.
Designed by Gustav Brunner, the Panasonic-sponsored Toyota TF102 made its racing debut at the first round of the 2002 season, held in Australia. The team's drivers were the Finn Mika Salo and Scot Alan McNish, yet despite their talents and, reportedly, having one of the biggest budgets in Formula 1, Toyota scored only two points all year. Brazilian Cristiano de Matta and Frenchman Olivier Panis replaced Salo and McNish for 2003, with a best result of 5th place in Germany. By the end of the year the team had accumulated 16 points, an improvement on the previous season but they were still only 8th in the Constructors' Championship.
Toyota retained their driver line-up for 2004, which would turn out to be yet another difficult season. Designer Mike Gascoyne, formerly with Jordan and Renault, was brought in to oversee development, and the car improved during the year. Personnel changes saw da Matta depart and fellow Brazilian Ricardo Zonta, the team's third driver, promoted as his replacement. After four rounds Zonta was replaced by Italian Jarno Trulli, formerly with Renault. Toyota scored just over half the points they managed in 2003, but equalled their best finish of 5th at the United States Grand Prix with Panis, and repeated their 8th place in the Constructors' Championship.
Despite scoring a point in their first-ever race, Toyota never won a Grand Prix, their best finish being 2nd position, which they achieved five times in 2005, 2008, and 2009. A well-funded team that consistently under-performed, Toyota announced its withdrawal from Formula 1 in November 2009, ending the team's involvement in the sport after eight seasons.
Toyota built 11 chassis for the 2004 season and used nine of them in races, numbers '05' and '08' (the car offered here) being the exceptions. Formerly a test car, this example was purchased directly from Toyota by the current vendor after the engine, transmission, and electronics had been removed, and thus is sold for display purposes only.