Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Monza with two points courtesy of Jarno Trulli's strong drive at today's Italian Grand Prix. On a sunny day at the circuit situated near the city of Milan, temperatures again approached 30 degrees Celsius. Jarno and team-mate Ralf Schumacher faced a hard day's work from their respective grid positions of 11th and 13th. Toyota opted for a one-stop strategy for both cars in a bid to make up positions. Jarno maintained a strong pace throughout the race and ended up taking 7th place. Ralf was less fortunate, spending much of the day in traffic and settling for 15th. Toyota now heads to the British circuit of Silverstone for testing this week in preparation for the last three races of the season in China, Japan and Brazil.
"That really was the maximum we could have achieved today so I will go away happy tonight. I made a reasonable start and just made sure to avoid any kind of accident on the first lap, and from then on I had a pretty good race. It all went pretty smoothly, especially considering that I had Barrichello in front of me on the first stint slowing me down. Otherwise I could have gone slightly better but nevertheless the car's balance felt good throughout the race. It was also a trouble-free race for me so thanks to the team and everybody involved for the good job they have done this week and at last week's test. Now I look forward to the last three races which I believe will suit our car better."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B) Race Classification: 15th
Gap: +1 lap (from race winner)
Qualifying Classification: 13th
Time: 1m22.280s (+1.055s in Q2)
"We were always going to face a difficult afternoon today starting from so far down the grid and that was the way it proved. I have struggled for balance throughout the weekend and that continued throughout the race. I found myself in traffic and we just didn't have enough speed to overtake down the straights. So all in all it's been a difficult event for me. Luckily Jarno scored a couple of points so well done to him. We have had a fast car in the last few races and we expect to improve our performance at the coming races. Of course I would also like to mention Michael's decision to retire. I am sure he has thought long and hard about his decision and I respect it. I've enjoyed racing with him and I wish him all the best both for the championship and for the future."
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"We came here expecting unsettled weather but in the end all three days have been fine. We also expected more from this weekend but we struggled with the performance of the car on Friday and Saturday. It was a pity that we missed out on Q3 and it meant today was always going to be hard work. But today was much better and our pace was closer to what we expected from the whole weekend. Given our grid positions the only sensible choice was to go for one pit stop and everything worked well. Jarno had been happy with his balance on the first two days but he was short of top speed. But today he had a very strong race considering his grid position, so well done to him for going up to 7th from 11th. He made no mistakes and pushed hard all through the race on his way to the points. Ralf spent most of the race in traffic so it is difficult to judge what he could have achieved but he still brought the car home. Our tyres were consistent and reasonably fast so we have achieved the best w e could have managed today. The car configuration we will use at the last three races of the year will be different and we are confident that we will be able to improve our level of performance. We will head to Shanghai with a target of challenging the top cars again."