Driver selection on hold until autumn but Makinen could be first to test new car
Toyota will not make any announcements on its driver line-up until the autumn, according to team principal Tommi Makinen.
It was expected that Mikko Hirvonen and Juho Hanninen would be announced as test drivers earlier this month. While that hasn’t happened, both are still set to drive the Yaris WRC once it is up and running.
Makinen could, however, be the driver who puts the first miles on the all-new Yaris WRC.
“I think that’s possible,” he said. “I would like to drive for the first test, it would be nice – of course I will take the engineers with me, but I think I can still drive.”
Hanninen (along with co-driver Kaj Lindstrom) was present in Mexico for the recce last week, sparking rumours that he had done a deal for next season – a rumour that strengthened with the news that the pair would complete the recce for all remaining rounds of the championship.
Asked if Hanninen could feature in the 2017 line-up, Makinen said: “We will see. It’s one of the possibilities. The reason he does the recce is to help us prepare the test programme and to help us find the identical conditions for the testing this year. It’s really helping us training for next year.
“It’s not yet the time to talk about drivers really. We will be looking at all different kinds of possibilities, but it’s too early right now. It’s more reasonable to talk about this in the autumn.”