Jarno Trulli has tipped Toyota to maintain their stunning start to the season when the Formula One circus returns to Europe later this month.
Trulli has scored consecutive second places in Malaysia and Bahrain to give Toyota their best results since entering Formula One in 2002.
Those podiums came in excessive heat at Sepang and Sakhir but Trulli is confident a return to cooler temperatures in the San Marino Grand Prix will not blunt Toyota’s challenge.
He said: “I don’t see why we cannot keep this pace up, although historically Imola has not been a happy circuit for Toyota. In the past the car has had some problems running the kerbs, which is an intrinsic part of squeezing a quick lap time out of a car at Imola.
“But as [technical director] Mike Gascoyne says, you solve a whole myriad of problems with a decent aero package and we have certainly made progress in that area.
“We will have more aero updates at San Marino and I hope that will bring us even more success for the upcoming European events.”
The Italian admits Toyota’s rapid change in fortunes has come as a shock.
He joined the Japanese team towards the end of last season after being sacked by Renault and found a troubled squad on their way to eighth in the constructors’ championship despite a huge budget.
Trulli, who has scored more points in two races than the team did in the entire of last season, said: “It a honestly a fantastic feeling to have claimed two successive podium places for Toyota and to have strengthened our second place in the constructors’ championship.
“When I signed for Toyota last year I was impressed by the facilities but also mindful that the team had 50 races to its name whereas Ferrari has 50 years experience. I never expected to be so competitive so soon. It’s a bit of a dream.”