Panasonic Toyota Racing
Monaco Grand Prix - Preview
In terms of logistics it can be an awkward place for teams to work. It is certainly an awkward place for drivers to manoeuvre Formula 1 cars at 200km/h. But Monaco remains the big draw of the world championship calendar, 77 years after the first grand prix around its twisting streets. Some call it an anachronism, others a throwback to motor sport's glittering heyday. But anyone lucky enough to have sampled the atmosphere around this cluttered principality on race weekend agrees that it is special. At this year's race Panasonic Toyota Racing's new TF106B car will make its race debut in the hands of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli as the team looks to make up ground after the difficult race in Spain.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7): "From a driving point of view it's great to drive at Monaco and a challenge to be quicker than everyone else round the narrow streets. The barriers are closer than anywhere so you need to adapt your approach slightly. But that is something we have all got used to down the years. The first challenge is to secure a good place on the grid and then to try and finish the race without mishap. Still, I have always been quick there and I've taken pole position and a podium in the past. Last year I made the points and we will hope for more this weekend. Tyre choice is always tricky because the track changes so much during the weekend. But if you have a driveable car here it's fun so I'll be looking forward to trying out our new TF106B."
Jarno Trulli (Car 8): "Monaco is one of my favourite tracks and it's a great event with a fantastic atmosphere. It's also a circuit where things have always gone well for me, above all when I won the race from pole position in 2004. Qualifying is critical for the race because of the notorious difficulty in overtaking and Saturday should be extremely eventful. This year's qualifying rules mean that we can expect a lot of traffic during the sessions. They are likely to be chaotic, with cars getting in each other's way and the fight for grid positions could turn into something of a lottery. It's hard enough putting a lap together around the streets when they are clear, but it is all but impossible to pass even a much slower car. Nonetheless I am looking forward to returning to action on this classic circuit and hoping for a good result."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "At Monaco you are so close to the track that you can feel how fast an F1 car really is. So it is a special place and it will be even more special this year because we will run our TF106B for the first time. The car is a long-planned mechanical evolution of the TF106 that we have raced so far this year, featuring a development of the new front suspension concept introduced on the TF105B at the end of the 2005 season. Our policy is constant evolution and the TF106B gives us an excellent mechanical base for continued aerodynamic development during the season. At Monaco we always run a different aerodynamic configuration anyway to achieve maximum downforce around the twisty streets, but it's a place that tyres and driver are more important than anywhere else. We have made good progress in partnership with Bridgestone and we have two drivers who always perform well at Monaco so we are looking forward to it."