Panasonic Toyota Racing
British Grand Prix - Preview
After the glamour of Monte Carlo the Formula 1 is heading back to the rather greyer surroundings of Silverstone. This former airfield in the English county of Northamptonshire has a long motor racing heritage and it has been the permanent home for the British Grand Prix for 20 years. The joys of the English summer usually ensure that there is some kind of input from the weather in the course of the weekend. This year's race has been brought forward a month from its usual July date so the chances of rain are even higher than usual. Whatever happens the Panasonic Toyota Racing team will retain a sunny disposition as it seeks to make up for the misfortune experienced at recent races.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7): "You can't really talk about the British Grand Prix without mentioning the weather. Indeed, the fact that we are racing at Silverstone in June - a month earlier than its traditional July date - means that it is an important factor in our preparations. The team will spend more time than usual looking at wet strategy. We also have to leave our options open for set-up as the weekend progresses because there is always a chance of a shower. But even in the dry the wind can be a factor because the surrounding area is so flat. The first half of the lap is particularly prone to wind changes and that can affect a quick lap. It was difficult to assess the TF106B around the twisty Monaco circuit. But we should have a clearer picture at Silverstone and I'm sure we will have better results."
Jarno Trulli (Car 8): "Silverstone is a long and demanding circuit from both a driving and an engineering perspective. Finding a set-up for the entire lap is a challenge because the track has every type of corner. You need traction out of the slow corners and efficient aero through the faster corners. Becketts is the most fun part of the circuit but a driver needs to be committed everywhere to get the most out of the lap time. So a well balanced car is crucial to respond to the range of features on the track and to let the driver push to the limit. Monaco was not the right place to judge the TF106B but the car behaved well in the race. It has also showed promise during testing so I'm confident the car is a step forward but we can't yet say how much. We'll head to Silverstone hoping for a stronger weekend. After my difficult run this year I'm ready for a change of luck!"
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "After winding our way around Monaco last week, Silverstone will give us a better chance to assess the performance of the TF106B on a high speed circuit. The track is similar to Barcelona in terms of technical characteristics, with many long high speed corners. So that leads to the same kind of compromise with the aerodynamic package. We run fairly high levels of downforce but have to avoid the drag penalty down the long straights. Barcelona does not have such high speed changes of direction as we see at Becketts, though, so we need some front end understeer in order to achieve stability. Like Barcelona we will also be looking at the harder end of the Bridgestone range of tyres - but in Britain we also pay closer attention than usual to wets! We can get a good idea of the temperature range a week before the event but we will be avidly checking the weather forecast for cloud coverage between now and Sunday."