Panasonic Toyota Racing
US Grand Prix - Preview
Fresh from its points finish in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Panasonic Toyota Racing team is flying south on the short trip from Montreal to Indianapolis for the second race of the North American double-header. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the most historic and evocative venue in American motor racing and has hosted the US Grand Prix since 2000. The modern F1 circuit features a twisty infield section before taking in one corner of the famous banked oval. The Toyota team has recorded some strong results at the venue and Jarno Trulli took a fine 4th place last year after battling his way through from the back of the field. This season has been a testing one so far for Toyota but it will look to make the most of its trip to the US and score more points this weekend.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "As the home of American motor racing, Indianapolis is a special venue and it has a special atmosphere to go with it. Unfortun ately it has never been a very lucky track for me and I have had a couple of incidents that I would prefer to forget. Now I will look to put those behind me with a more positive visit to the venue. The main challenge of the Speedway’s F1 circuit is to balance the set-up of the car. We have to reach a good top speed along the banked start-finish straight into the first corner while keeping the car stable through the slow and twisty infield section. This season has been a struggle for me but I remain confident that we can turn our form around. We scored a point at Montreal and Toyota has a strong record from its races at Indianapolis so we will hope to give the team a boost with a good result on Sunday."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "Since I’ve been at Toyota our car has always been competitive at Indianapolis. In 2005 I took pole position and last year I finished 4th despite starting from the pit lane. The Speedway plays host to one of the most important races in the world so it is a special place to drive. You can really see how the people are passionate about motor sport. I enjoy the atmosphere both at the circuit and in the town because everyone is so friendly. The Formula 1 track is not particularly technical but it is slippery and we work hard on the mechanical grip in the slow corners to allow us to take off downforce for straight-line speed. We’ve been having a difficult season in 2007 and the Canadian Grand Prix was a very hard race for me but now I’m hoping for a better weekend’s work."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "Indianapolis is best described as two circuits in one. Part of the lap is taken on the oval section with around 23 seconds of full throttle. The rest takes place on the twisty infield section. That obviously leads to a major compromise when it comes to setting up the cars. When you do the calculations you see that you achieve similar lap times no matter how much downforce you have. If you run with very high downforce it helps in the infield but makes you slow on the straight. With low downforce the opposite applies. During the race you clearly have to be quick on the straights in order to pass and defend your position so you run low downforce. It’s one of the hardest circuits of the year for rear tyre wear largely because of the acceleration from the infield section onto the banking. We are not concerned that the issue we faced with the front suspension during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix will reappear. Turn 8 at Montreal is unique and we will now have enough time to rectify the issue. We will head to Indianapolis looking to break into the points again to send us away from North America on a positive note."