Panasonic Toyota Racing
Paul Ricard Test Round-Up
Dates: 11-13 May 2005
Drivers: Ricardo Zonta (11-13), Olivier Panis (11-13) Track Length: 3.593km (11-12), 5.216km, 3.551km (13)
Ricardo Zonta – Chassis TF105/06
Best lap time: 1m00.822s
Total laps: 353
Total distance: 1311km
Ricardo, what were you working on here?
We spent the first two days on a short version of the circuit that was laid out to be similar to Monaco. We put in a lot of Michelin tyre work and suspension tests for Monaco and we ran some small aero parts as well. It went pretty well and I put in over 100 laps on each of the days. On Friday morning they changed the layout to include a longer straight so we could work on tyres to prepare for next month's Canadian Grand Prix. The track was shortened again in the afternoon for the last few hours of running.
How do you think things are looking for Toyota at next week's Monaco Grand Prix?
The main problem for us at Monaco is the bumps. Our car is also best suited to medium-fast corners. But we are working very hard to find the right balance for Monaco's slow corners and we have made some progress here this week so I think we could be okay. The tyres are looking good so let's hope for another good result.
Olivier Panis – Chassis TF105/07
Best lap time: 1m00.993s
Total laps: 292
Total distance: 1084km
Olivier, how has the test gone for you?
This test has been quite productive for us. We spent the first couple of days working on set-up and weight distribution for Monaco on the short circuit. We did pretty well, finding a really good balance. We also did some tyre tests for Monaco and it looks like we've found a good solution. We then spent Wednesday morning doing work for Canada on the long circuit. We lost time with a gearbox control problem before switching back to a shorter circuit. Overall I'm quite impressed with our week's work because the car and tyres were not only strong, but they were also really consistent. So things are looking pretty positive.
How do you rate Toyota's prospects for Monaco after this test?
What we worked on here improved the balance of the car a lot. Now we just need to see where we are on a track that is as bumpy as Monaco. On paper I would say that Monaco wouldn't be one of the best circuits for Toyota this year. Imola was our hardest circuit so far because of its kerbs and Monaco's bumps are also a challenge for the suspension. But Monaco is a grand prix which can often throw up a surprise result so you never know. If the cars can score points it will be great. Anything more would be a major bonus.