Preparations for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix began today for Panasonic Toyota Racing with three hours of practice at the Sepang circuit. On a sweltering Good Friday in the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, track temperatures topped 50 degrees Celsius. The 2007 season’s extended Friday sessions allow plenty of time for preparation and the team took full advantage. Toyota’s race drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli put in over 100 laps between them and they ended the day with the 8th and 16th fastest times respectively. The team will now analyse today’s data in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying and the race on Easter Sunday.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/03)
First Session 9th 22 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 37.052s (+2.080s)
Second Session 8th 27 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 36.760s (+0.980s)
"That was a reasonable day and good preparation for the rest of the weekend. It’s obviously hot here and the conditions push the drivers to the limit. But I like the heat and last week’s testing was a good preparation for the weekend. Despite so many cars running here, the circuit was still very low on grip today. Still, we made it through our programme of work with no problems. We are comfortable with the track and the tyres were also working well. It’s difficult to judge true performance after the first race but our goal is to get two cars into the top ten again and hopefully to take more points."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
First Session 7th 25 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 36.597s (+1.625s)
Second Session 16th 34 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 37.712s (+1.932s)
"Since the beginning of the day I’ve been struggling so we will have to look into that tonight. The track was short of grip early on and I found myself sliding with all four wheels. The car has been inconsistent and it has not responded to the set-up change
s we’ve made. And while the track improved I actually got worse with the same set-up. So something strange is happening and now we need to investigate why. Still, I like this track and I have always performed pretty well here. The weather is changeable and our forecasts say we may yet see some thunderstorms during the weekend."Dieter Gass – Chief Engineer Race and Test
"We got a lot done in the two sessions so that was a productive day. For both cars to run trouble-free was good, especially in the hot conditions that we have here. Even though we tested here last week we still had a lot of things to do and we went through our programme quite well. But you wouldn’t have known there had been a test last week from the track which was as short of grip as usual on a Friday here. Both cars were sliding a lot and it was not easy to find a balance in these conditions. But given how many laps we have completed, we have a lot of data to look at tonight to see what changes we can make to improve our cars further for tomorrow. In Australia there was quite a big difference between the two tyres but here there is a far smaller gap and both tyres are well suited to the circuit. That means we will have to work out how best to use them over the weekend."