Panasonic Toyota Racing started its three-day test program in Silverstone today. The team headed north to this particular circuit to take advantage of the track surface while testing tyres in preparation for the final three races. Jarno Trulli headed out early to Japan to prepare for the "Mega Web" event, which takes place every year in Tokyo and includes a demonstration run for fans. As a result, he will not be present this week and this provided an opportunity for Franck Montagny to take over Jarno's duties today and drive alongside third driver Ricardo Zonta. Although he has not signed a contract yet, he was able to familiarise himself with the team. Due to the fact that Ricardo was not feeling well and will head home earlier than planned, Franck will carry on testing tomorrow. Race driver Ralf Schumacher will also be on hand to begin his final grand prix preparations.
Ricardo Zonta - Chassis TF106/06B
Best Lap Time: 1m19.377s
Total laps: 50
Total Distance: 257.05km
"Today's running went well, even though I am fighting off the flu and it was hard to concentrate in the car with fever and cold symptoms. We lost some time in the morning due to this, but in the afternoon I pushed hard in order to help the team collect the data they needed. I could not do as much balance work as we wanted to and therefore started the tyre testing straight away. Today was the final tyre test for Shanghai and hopefully tomorrow Franck can carry on for me and the team can get a full day's testing in for the following races."
Franck Montagny - Chassis TF106/07B
Best Lap Time: 1m19.659s
Total laps: 57
Total Distance: 293.037km
"I am quite happy to have driven for Toyota today. Overall, I had a really good feeling - about the car and its handling, the team and everyone who worked with me today. I felt that everyone was very professional and made me feel comfortable. Of course, I will need more time to get to know all the areas of such a large team. For my part, we focused on tyre testing and I am sure there is still a lot to do, but my overall feeling was quite positive. I was glad to be of help to the team and enjoyed driving the car."
Gerd Pfeiffer - Test Team Manager
"Both drivers worked hard today and concluded the session with competitive times. Franck's programme focused mainly on tyre testing and helping us collect data in preparation for the last grand prix races. He was very helpful and showed he has a great deal of experience in Formula One. Unfortunately, Ricardo was not feeling too well in the morning. However, because he worked really hard in the afternoon despite his cold, we were able to finish up the tyre testing for the Chinese Grand Prix. Tomorrow we will continue preparations with Franck and Ralf at the wheel."