Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its preparations for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix around the streets of the Albert Park circuit. On a cloudy day in Melbourne, the team began its bid to make progress after its difficult start to the year. Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli both successfully completed their programmes of tyre comparison and set-up work in today's two practice sessions. The drivers will now look to make continued improvements over the rest of the weekend as Toyota bids for points in the race.
The Albert Park track is always dirty on the Friday of the race weekend, and grip was again at a premium today.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/04)
First Session Classification: 20th, 2 laps completed No lap time Second Session Classification: 16th, 20 laps completed Lap Time: 1m29.138s (+2.316s)
"That was a normal Friday of tyre testing, set-up work and trying to find a good balance for the car. We still have some work to do to get more grip if we want to be more competitive so we have to work on some solutions to that over the course of the weekend. We spent today collecting as much data as we can for the next two days but being a street circuit the track here always evolves a lot during the course of the weekend. We will have to wait and see how much we can improve in the next two days but our target is to make the points on Sunday."
WITH A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING
After meeting the cast of Australian soap Neighbours this week, Ralf Schumacher began work on setting up the TF106.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/05) First Session Classification: 7th, 5 laps completed Lap Time: 1m29.411s (+1.152s) Second Session Classification: 18th, 16 laps completed Lap Time: 1m29.379s (+2.557s)
"Today's practice sessions made for a difficult start to the weekend here. We are again struggling to find general grip, so that is something we need to find for tomorrow to be in a decent position. The circuit always starts out dirty here so the grip of the tarmac will improve as the weekend goes on. We have some different tyres here that we hope will help us to solve some of the problems we have had with tyre temperature at the first two races. We already looked better in Malaysia so we hope to be able to continue to improve our set-up. Of course it is relatively cool here this weekend and the weather forecast is not very good. But if everything runs according to plan then we should aim to score points."
Panasonic Toyota Racing's two TF106 cars both completed their day of set-up work in preparation for Sunday's race.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis "Both our drivers completed their normal programmes of work in the two sessions today. The track is always difficult on the first day here, very dirty and slippery with low levels of grip, but it improved throughout the day. Certainly the new spec Bridgestone tyre is working well in these conditions but we have to look at all the data we have in order to make the correct tyre choice for tomorrow. Overall there were no real problems but we now have to look to improve the set-up to get more grip out of the package. We are not yet where we want to be but we will have to see what the weather does tomorrow before we can know exactly where we are."