Location: Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France
Drivers: Ricardo Zonta, Olivier Panis
Track Length: 3.818km
Jarno Trulli Best lap: 1m05.702s, total laps: 72
Ricardo Zonta Best lap: 1m05.738s, total laps: 339
Ralf Schumacher Best lap: 1m07.060s, total laps: 40
Olivier Panis Best lap: 1m07.851s, total laps: 110
On the third and last day of Panasonic Toyota Racing's test session at Circuit Paul Ricard, Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta were present and put in over a combined 249 laps, even though the morning session started out slow due to the track being damp and slippery from the evening's rainfall. The additional wind caused the team to wait until the track dried out. Yet, in the afternoon, both drivers were able to finish some long runs on the newer tyre compounds supplied by Bridgestone. Over the last three days, the team worked extensively on the tyre programme, testing new constructions and compounds, as well as performing set-up evaluations in preparation for the Australian Grand Prix.
BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT
Having put in 339 laps over the last three days, Ricardo Zonta finds Toyota is gradually getting on the right track.
Ricardo Zonta - Chassis TF106/01
Best Lap Time: 1m06.949s
Total laps: 139
Total Distance: 530.702km
"We continued today with tyre testing. I did three long runs in the morning and another three in the afternoon because the track temperature changed over the day, and therefore we repeated the test. This was very important for Melbourne because we will make the tyre decision for this race based on these runs. I feel this test has brought encouraging results, nevertheless the team will push forward and continue to work on finding the best solutions for the coming races."
EYE ON PROVENCE
Frenchman Olivier Panis felt at home returning to the Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France, where he assisted the team in making preparations for the next grand prix.
Olivier Panis - Chassis TF106/02
Best Lap Time: 1m07.851s
Total laps: 110
Total Distance: 419.98km
"The test went well and it looks constructive for the team. When we started this morning, the track conditions were cold and damp, but we used the weather to our advantage, testing wet tyres in the morning and dry tyres in the afternoon. Everyone worked hard and we are still sorting out the car set-up, but the results from this test give us some positive insight for the next race and tests."
THE OZ CAR NOMINATION
Panasonic Toyota Racing finishes its three-day testing in Le Castellet, having focused on tyre testing and car behaviour for the grand prix in Australia.
Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager
"We have used the last three days to gain data on the car and how it behaves with various tyre constructions and compounds. Both Ricardo and Olivier were very thorough with their feedback today and based on this as well as the results that we have collected, we have decided on the tyre choice for Melbourne. We know that the next races will be challenging and that we still have work to do, but we are confident we are heading in the right direction."