Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its preparations for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix in unusual conditions at the Hungaroring. Budapest in August usually guarantees extreme temperatures and one of the hottest grands prix of the season with track temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius. But this year the weather has played tricks on the teams, with overcast skies and both air and tarmac temperatures in the twenties. Overnight rain ensured that the track surface was green early on but both Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher put in two good sessions of work, finishing 6th and 7th. But the day was overshadowed by the big accident suffered by Toyota's former driver Cristiano da Matta in Champ Car testing at the American circuit of Elkhart Lake. When he was with Toyota Cristiano was always a fighter and everyone involved in the team wishes him the best as he fights for his recovery.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B) First Session Classification: 17th, 5 laps completed Lap Time: 1m30.110s (+8.486s) Second Session Classification: 6th, 19 laps completed Lap Time: 1m23.747s (+1.969s)
"It's unusual to see the Hungaroring in cool conditions like this so it was a difficult day for all of us because we were prepared for different temperatures. Tyre graining is always a problem in low temperatures like we had today but as rubber goes down over the rest of the weekend that should improve. We managed to go through all the work we needed today but it will be a long night to discuss what type of tyre we will pick for the next two days. At the last three races we've shown strong pace even if we haven't always converted that into results. Now we must look to score well before we head to the August break."
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B)
First Session Classification: 9th, 9 laps completed Lap Time: 1m24.620s (+2.996s) Second Session Classification: 7th, 18 laps completed Lap Time: 1m23.771s (+1.993s)
"This is the first time I can remember seeing clouds in Hungary so it will be a very different weekend from usual here. Obviously when you choose tyres in advance you cannot predict the weather and you have to go with what you have seen during the last few years. That means the weather is an important variable this weekend, but at least we expect it to stay dry. Today there was low general grip and a lot of tyre degradation but it was difficult to draw too many conclusions. Still, I am hopeful because the combination of our chassis and our Bridgestone tyres has been working well in recent races."
Dieter Gass – Chief Engineer Race and Test "Today was a positive day and we made it through our programme without any major issues. Because of the specialised nature of the Hungaroring we run a high downforce package here similar to what we use in Monaco. It's difficult to assess where we lie after these sessions but we have collected a lot of information on the tyres which should give us all we need to make the choice. The track usually approaches 50 degrees Celsius here so of course the temperatures are lower than expected. We will have to see how that affects performance as the weekend progresses. Today there was a lot of graining throughout the session which made it hard to work on the set-up but we will look through our data and see what to do tomorrow."