Ricardo Zonta Best lap: 1m17.488s, total laps: 184 Olivier Panis Best lap: 1m17.801s, total laps: 187
MY, HOW TIME FLIES
In just ten days the 2006 Formula 1 season will come to close. Today however, concluded the Panasonic Toyota Racing team's testing for this season at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez in Spain. From November last year until now, the test team has had a long and busy programme testing many different items to develop and bring the race cars forward. Mainly the team concentrated on tyres, having switched to Bridgestone and learning about a whole new tyre philosophy. Whether it was a high or low point during the season, the team always held together and pushed to improve performance. One hard worker among the many will now leave the team and head on to new pastures; Ricardo Zonta put in his last day of work for the team today and bade farewell to everyone he has worked with over the last season. Olivier Panis who was also at the wheel today, will stay on until the end of the season before he also carries on with his new challenge in life.
Ricardo Zonta – Chassis TF106/07B
Best Lap Time: 1m17.488
Total laps: 73
Total distance: 323.244kms
"Today was a challenging last day for me. We had planned to do a lot of long runs for the Brazilian race tyre choice. Unfortunately we lost some valuable time when my engine needed to be changed. In the end, we still got some running in and I think the team can make a good choice. This being my last day it is difficult to leave a team that I have worked with a long time and who have treated me so well. Looking back, we have had quite a busy and difficult season, focusing on the tyres and developing the car to improve on our results. The team was always motivated to keep moving ahead. I have always felt welcome here and I will miss everyone that I have worked with."
Olivier Panis – Chassis TF106/06B
Best Lap Time: 1m17.801s
Total laps: 92
Total distance: 407.376kms
"I am happy with today's running and our results. We worked mainly on tyres and set-up preparations for Interlagos. I was able to drive over 90 laps and collected some good data on the tyres for this race. I think we can be confident for the last race and still vie for 5th place. The team has worked hard and it would be great to end the season on a high note."
Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager
"Overall we can be happy with this week's test. Today's running was not as smooth as yesterday, because we lost time with Ricardo's car due to an engine change. Nevertheless, Olivier was quite busy with the tyre testing for Brazil. It is too bad that we are losing Ricardo and Olivier, as both have a lot of experience and have been committed to our development over the last four years. Although Olivier will come back for winter testing, at this time, we would like to thank Ricardo for sharing his expertise and showing such dedication over the years. He will truly be missed."