Panasonic Toyota Racing today made a promising start to its preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. Ricardo Zonta lost running time after a hydraulic problem in the morning, resulting in a busy afternoon for the Brazilian. He ended up recording the second fastest time in the second session while both race drivers successfully completed their programmes.
Still the second placed driver in the world championship, Jarno Trulli finished Friday's second session at Barcelona in 5th position. The Italian had a trouble-free day of running and is looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
First Session Classification: 21st, 2 laps completed Lap Time: No Time Second Session Classification: 5th, 26 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 16.653s (+1.591s)
"It was a positive day for me. It was really a normal Friday but we had to do less set-up work than usual because we test here so often. This year's new track surface means we still have some things to learn about the track so we spent the day looking at tyre comparisons. Now the car is not far from where it should be and it's up to us to make the tyre decision based on the data. Then we can look to add to our haul of points from the year."
Ralf Schumacher also had a painless day of preparation for qualifying and the race, putting in six laps of the twisty Barcelona track in the morning and 22 laps in the afternoon.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/04) First Session Classification: 9th, 6 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 18.204s (+2.529s) Second Session Classification: 8th, 22 laps completed Lap Time:1m 17.264s (+2.202s)
"I spent the day working on general set-up. The car went pretty well and we found more grip with the changes we made as the session went on. Now we have to look at the tyre choice. The Circuit de Catalunya has changed a lot since we last raced here because of the new tarmac. It's very smooth so you have to work hard to get heat into the tyres, so it could still be a tough race for tyres. If we can beat that challenge we can look for another strong finish."
TO CATALAN STORY SHORT
Ricardo Zonta missed out on most of the morning session after suffering a hydraulic problem. That meant he had to fit a more intense programme of tyre comparison into the afternoon, when he recorded the second fastest time.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/05) First Session Classification: 7th, 9 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 18.103s (+2.428s) Second Session Classification: 2nd, 34 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 16.220s (+1.158s)
"Unfortunately I lost most of my morning's running after I suffered a hydraulic problem in the morning session so I had to try and catch up on my programme in the afternoon. The new smoother track surface here at Barcelona meant that there was not much grip early on in the morning session, but the conditions improved as the day went on. That should continue during the weekend, particularly if it stays hot and sunny."
Barcelona remains the grand prix circuit that teams test on most frequently, but this year's new track surface means there is more to learn this weekend than usual. The team will now use the data from its Michelin tyre comparisons to make a choice for Saturday and Sunday.
Dieter Gass – Chief Race Engineer
"That was a pretty good start to the weekend. Ricardo's hydraulic problem during the first session meant he didn't get much work done and both race drivers only did a few laps, but the second session was very good. The cars look quick and consistent and Ricardo was able to finish his programme with the tyre comparison. Tyre choice is going to be interesting because it didn't look that clear cut. But the car looked pretty quick and consistent on both types of tyre so all in all it was a pretty pleasing day. After a difficult weekend in Imola we look much more on the pace here."