Panasonic Toyota Racing
British Grand Prix - Preview
Panasonic Toyota Racing is back in action for the British Grand Prix this weekend after barely a break since the race at Magny-Cours last Sunday. The team heads back to Silverstone, the venue for the first-ever Formula 1 World Championship race in 1950, following a frustrating weekend in France. Jarno crashed out of the Magny-Cours race on the first lap after an encouraging qualifying display while Ralf showed good pace but lost out in traffic on his first stint, denying him points despite some promising lap times. With only a few days between races, the team has faced a rush across the Channel to Silverstone in Northamptonshire, which is among the fastest circuits in Formula 1. Both Ralf and Jarno are well prepared for this weekend’s race after testing set-ups and comparing medium and soft Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds at the British circuit last month. That positive test, as well as Ralf’s competitive race speed in France, means the team is optimistic of a return to the points this weekend.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "I am looking forward to the British Grand Prix. I have always enjoyed racing in Britain because the fans there are so fanatical about motorsport, they really love the sport. They are always supportive of all the drivers, no matter what nationality they are. The Silverstone circuit is very fast and challenging but I think we are in reasonable shape after our test there. Even though the result at Magny-Cours was not what we expected, we can take some positives out of the weekend. I lost a lot of time held up behind another car early in the race but after that the car felt pretty good and my lap times were better than our position suggested. It was frustrating to miss out on points because we had a good opportunity but I am confident we can continue to improve and get back into the points."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "Silverstone is a very high-speed circuit, probably the fastest on the calendar after Monza. The sweeping fast corners in the first half are probably the most difficult as you can lose quite a bit of time before you hit the very fast Hangar Straight. It’s a long circuit and a challenging one as well, for the drivers and also for the team when it comes to set-up. As a driver you need a lot of commitment in the corners to really get the best lap time out of the car. There are all different kinds of corners at Silverstone so there is a compromise between grip in the corners and speed on the straights. Unfortunately I go to Silverstone after a very disappointing race in Magny-Cours. We had a really strong chance to score good points but on the first lap I just misjudged the hairpin and crashed. But we know our race pace was good enough to score points so that is again the target."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "We had a successful test at Silverstone two weeks ago so we approach the British Grand Prix with confidence. We evaluated some aero elements of our upgraded package, which we used in France, as well as looking at set-up for this race. We will have the same aero package for this race as we used at Magny-Cours because the requirements of the two tracks are similar, although not identical. In terms of set-up, you have a lot of high-speed corners and the average speed is quite high. It would require a lot of downforce to be faster on some of the high-speed corners but the circuit is fast so you pay for that with drag. There is a compromise but after the test we know pretty much which aero set-up window we are working in. The test at Silverstone went smoothly. Both drivers felt the car was very reasonable at high speed so we are confident of scoring points again this weekend after a disappointing race in France."