Panasonic Toyota Racing today took part in the first official Formula 1 test to take place at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit. It is two years since cars last raced at the legendary venue but this year’s Belgian Grand Prix is scheduled at the Ardennes track for September. All the F1 teams have chosen to attend this three-day test, which gives them a valuable opportunity to begin preparations for that race along with work for the four events that are scheduled before then. Despite the usual gloomy forecast for this region, there was no rain today and much of the action took place in glorious sunshine. After last weekend’s disappointing race at Silverstone the Toyota test team returned to work today with Ralf Schumacher at the helm. Ralf kicked off the week’s work on set-up and tyres for the race at Spa and carried out compa risons of dampers and other systems. He will continue the test tomorrow.
Ralf Schumacher – Chassis TF107/03
Best lap time: 1m 47.878s
Total laps: 70
Total distance: 490.3km
"I’m one of the many drivers who rate Spa as the best circuit on the calendar so it makes for a nice change to come here for a test. It is always enjoyable to drive this track because it is a ‘real’ circuit and it has so many special corners. They have made some slight changes to the circuit for this year’s race, including a new tarmac and an amended Bus Stop, and they seem to have done a good job. The other major factor at Spa is the weather. Today we were lucky and the sun shone for most of the day but the Belgian Ardennes seem to have a climate all their own and you can never be sure what you are going to get. Today went well, we had no problems and the car felt good so we’ll hope for more of the same tomorrow."
Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager
"It is good to have the chance to te
st here before the race because it enables us to have a preview of the new track layout. There have been changes made around the start-finish area of the lap and there is also a new tarmac around that area. So this week we will concentrate on set-up for the race here in two months. The drivers can get used to the circuit and we can work on tyre comparisons with the new surface as well as race start simulations. This gives everyone a useful head start for the Belgian Grand Prix. We are also preparing for the coming races and we put some work on dampers and other systems today. We completed our programme without major issues so this has been a positive day."