Toyota not rushing to complete 2008 lineup

Thu, 6 September 2007, 12:44

Toyota might wait until the end of the season before naming a 2008 teammate for Jarno Trulli.

It is understood that the contract ‘option’ to renew Ralf Schumacher’s existing deal beyond this year expires imminently, and that his Cologne and Tokyo based bosses have already decided not to automatically activate it.

Timo Glock, Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima and even Fernando Alonso have been touted as potential replacements for the 32-year-old German, while Toyota waits for late-season developments in the driver market.

“It’s a risk for us potentially, but we’ll see,” team president John Howett told the website of the American broadcaster Speed TV.

The British chief, who has traditionally been a resolute supporter of embattled Schumacher, rejected suggestions that Ralf is being kept in the dark merely as a ‘fall back position’ in the event that a better option does not emerge for Toyota.

“He might be higher than a fall back position, depending on availability,” Howett said.

“Probably by the end of the season we should have an idea of what we want to do.”

Six-time race winner Schumacher, whose alternatives including Spyker, Toro Rosso and even a switch to the DTM with Audi have dwindled in recent days and weeks, confirmed that he is not expecting a quick decision from Toyota.

“It might well take until the end of the year or whatever,” he said.

“Let’s wait. Both sides are completely free to do whatever they like.”

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