Toyota, the Japanese carmaker's seven-year-old formula one team, has raced into contention to lead the field in 2009, according to a growing feeling in F1 circles.

Toyota, the Japanese carmaker's seven-year-old formula one team, has raced into contention to lead the field in 2009, according to a growing feeling in F1 circles.

"In the past days Toyota has been going very well," Renault's former double world champion Fernando Alonso said.

For Jarno Trulli's final two days of pre-season testing this week, the Italian took the TF109 to the third and fourth highest spots on the Barcelona timesheets.

But an engineer for the Cologne based team told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport on Tuesday: "Taking into consideration the fuel weights, we had the fastest car in the field."

There is little doubt, however, that despite the impressiveness of also the new BMW and Red Bull cars, it is the Ferrari that occupies the favourite role ahead of Melbourne, but only by a small margin.

Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest and fastest respectively on Monday and Tuesday, and the Finn told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "We did not push 100 per cent in order to do special times."

 

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