Panasonic Toyota Racing
Spanish Grand Prix - Preview
Panasonic Toyota Racing returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix after scoring points in all three races so far in 2007. Following Jarno Trulli’s exciting drive to seventh place in Bahrain almost four weeks ago, the team is upbeat ahead of round four of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The TF107 has undergone an upgrade following the three flyaway races and Panasonic Toyota Racing expects to close the gap to the front cars as a result. The revised car, which features several aerodynamic changes including improved turning vanes, gearbox cladding and cooling chimneys, was tested successfully in Barcelona last week with both Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher making good progress. In 2005, Jarno and Ralf finished third and fourth respectively and the team is looking for more points again this weekend to continue its positive start to the season.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "Bahrain was disappointing for me but we had a productiv e test in Barcelona last week so I am expecting a better result at this race. We all know the Circuit de Catalunya very well from testing but this will be the first time we have raced on the new lay-out after the chicane was added to replace the penultimate corner. It is certainly better from a safety point of view but it has made it quite tricky to drive. We have made some aerodynamic changes to our car since the last race and, after a positive test at Barcelona, I am confident we will see an improvement in our performance this weekend. We will have to wait and see how much we have moved forward but my goal is to get back among the points after two disappointing races."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "I had a great race in Bahrain to finish seventh so I am going to the Spanish Grand Prix in a good mood. It was a difficult race for me but I was very pleased with my performance. However, we saw in Bahrain that we need to work on a few things if we are to compete with the fastest ca rs. We will have an updated car for this race and in testing that seemed to be a good step forward. Obviously everyone else is likely to have improvements on the car but I hope we can make a performance gain. We tested at Barcelona last week and that should help us when it comes to finding a set-up, especially now the lay-out has changed. My most recent podium finish was in Spain two years ago – I don’t know if we can repeat that result but I am certainly hoping for more points."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "We will have a significant upgrade of our aerodynamic package for the Spanish Grand Prix, including a new engine cover, a new floor and new rear crash structure. We are confident it will bring better performance in Barcelona. The Circuit de Catalunya is usually a good judge of whether a car is competitive – if you are quick at Barcelona you should go well at most places. This year the circuit is different because of the lay-out changes. It has los t a bit of its character because in the past it was all about high-speed cornering which made it a real challenge in terms of aerodynamics and also suspension. The new chicane has taken away some of that challenge but it is still interesting for us in terms of set-up. We have finished in the points in every race so far this season so clearly that is again the expectation."