The twisty streets of Monaco echoed with the scream of F1 engines today as the 2005 grand prix weekend got under way. Panasonic Toyota Racing made a reasonable start to its preparations for Sunday's race in the two practice sessions. The three drivers Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta successfully completed their programmes, finishing the second session in 9th, 10th and 13th places respectively.
LOEWS ALL YOU NEED
Ralf Schumacher had a painless day of preparation for qualifying and the race, putting in 14 laps of the twisty Monaco track in the morning and 24 laps in the afternoon.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/04) First Session Classification: 8th, 14 laps completed Lap Time: 1m18.482s (+1.330s) Second Session Classification: 9th, 24 laps completed Lap Time: 1m16.917s (+1.082s)
"We had a pretty good day and we completed a lot of laps, getting through all our work without any problems. We still obviously have work to do on set-up but that's always the case in Monaco. We'll also have to have a good look at the data to make our final tyre choice. Still, I'm still relatively optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We will be hoping for another strong points finish and doing everything to see if we can make the podium."
GET A GRIP
Last year's Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli began the defence of his crown by finishing Thursday's second session in 13th position. The Italian had a trouble-free day of running but struggled for grip throughout both sessions.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
First Session Classification: 13th, 13 laps completed Lap Time: 1m19.255s (+2.103s) Second Session Classification: 13th, 28 laps completed Lap Time: 1m17.487s (+1.652s)
"Today was a very difficult day for me. Monaco is one of my favourite circuits but I've been really struggling for grip all day, even as the track improved. I really haven't managed to find a set-up I like on the car yet. Whatever changes I make, they do not seem to have a positive reaction. So all I can say is that it's been a difficult day. Still, anything can happen in F1 – especially here – so we'll give everything to turn our situation around for the weekend."
TABAC TO BASICS
Ricardo Zonta recorded the 10th fastest time in the second session after a day spent pounding around the principality's maze of streets.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/05) First Session Classification: 17th, 21 laps completed Lap Time: 1m20.979s (+3.827s) Second Session Classification: 10th, 35 laps completed Lap Time: 1m17.046s (+1.211s)
"Everything went wrong for me today. The first day at Monaco is always difficult because it is dirty but we started with the wrong set-up and we completely lost the first session because of that. We spent the second session doing long runs to evaluate the consistency of the tyres but I still didn't have a good balance. Then when I went onto new tyres at the end of the session there were yellow flags and too much traffic. Still, there is more performance to come from the car."
The first sessions around the harbour always present a challenge to teams who have to work on a rapidly changing track. Toyota will now use the data from its Michelin tyre comparisons to make a choice for Saturday and Sunday.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis "In many ways that was a typical first day in Monaco. The track was very dirty to begin with, then the track conditions evolved a lot throughout the two sessions. There was also a lot of traffic which makes conclusions difficult to draw. All the drivers completed their programmes with no real worries, they were just complaining generally of a lack of grip on the dirty circuit. We have to evaluate the data pretty carefully to make our tyre choice for the rest of the weekend. The cars look reasonably competitive so now we just have to make the right decisions for Saturday and Sunday."