Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Barcelona licking its wounds after a desperately disappointing Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. The race took place in perfect conditions with track temperatures around 50° Celsius as it has been all weekend. Jarno Trulli’s fine qualifying performance yesterday earned him 6th place on the grid. Unfortunately he suffered a fuel pressure problem as the drivers lined up for the first start and he was forced to take the restart from the pit lane. He lasted only eight laps before the problem became terminal. Ralf Schumacher’s day also began in the worst way when he was hit from behind by Alexander Wurz’s Williams on lap 1. After a pit stop to check for damage he rejoined over a minute down. He then raced hard despite missing top speed with a damaged rear wing. Unfortunately he retired 20 laps from home when the nose cone worked loose. Toyota is scheduled to t est this week at the Paul Ricard circuit in France in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27. The team will head to the principality looking for a turnaround in its fortunes.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05)
Race Classification DNF Tyres Used: Soft Soft
Qualifying Classification 17th Time: 1m 22.666s (+1.546s in Q1) Grid: 17th
"That was another difficult weekend for me. The start itself was okay and I made up a couple of places. It was a bit messy but from where I was on the grid that is to be expected. There was a bit of chaos at turn 10 when I was hit from behind but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I had to pit to check for damage but we were able to continue. From there the race was quite good and at least we were able to keep up a strong pace. Unfortunately the nose then worked loose and I had to retire. Our car has improved but we were far away from where we should have been today so we will have to keep working hard."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12,
Race Classification DNF Tyres Used: Soft
Qualifying Classification 6th Time: 1m 22.324s (+0.903s in Q3) Grid: 6th
"This was one of those days. Unfortunately at the end of the parade lap while I was heading to the grid to take the start, the engine cut out due to a problem with the fuel pressure. That meant we had to take the restart from the pit lane. We managed to get the engine going again using higher revs and then we were able to put in a few laps that looked pretty good. But in the end the problem was too severe to continue further and we had to retire. This is the kind of thing that can happen in motor racing but it was a pity because we qualified well and we were in a good position to fight today. We have made a step forward this weekend but this is the first time we have missed the points this year. Now we have to keep pushing hard to improve both our performance and our reliability."
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"It’s obviously disappointing that neither of our cars finished today. Jarno did very well in qualifying but before the start of today’s race he had a problem with his fuel line. That made his fuel pressure unstable and meant his engine was not working properly. Ralf made a good start and made up ground before he was hit from behind by Alexander Wurz. He had to pit in to check the car and from there he had good race pace considering the rear left endplate was damaged and he was therefore losing top speed. Then he had to stop due to a problem that was an indirect consequence of his crash. After over 40 laps his nose worked loose and we now have to investigate why that happened. The only thing we can say about today is at least the problems all came at the same time, which is very efficient! On a positive note we were pleased to discover we were on similar strategies to the top cars so Jarno’s qualifying performance was encouraging. We head to Monaco with a further upgrade on the car so we hope for a mor e successful weekend there."