Panasonic Toyota Racing left its home race at the Nürburgring empty handed after a dramatic but disappointing European Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli finished 13th but Ralf Schumacher’s battle for points ended in retirement after a collision. At the start, Jarno lined up 8th and Ralf 9th but rain on the first lap triggered chaos, with several cars spinning off, although both Toyota men drove carefully to stay on the track. At the end of the first lap, Ralf pitted but was given wet Bridgestone Potenza tyres on one side and grooved, dry tyres on the other, costing him time as the problem was rectified. Jarno also pitted twice in quick succession, losing time and positions before the race was red-flagged after four laps. After a 15-minute delay, the race restarted behind the safety car for two laps and Jarno changed to wet tyres while Ralf made up three places when racing resumed. But track conditions were constantly changing and on lap 12 both switc hed to grooved dry tyres. Ralf was soon in ninth and battling for the points positions but his day came to an early end when Nick Heidfeld collided with him at the last corner on lap 19. Jarno faced an uphill struggle after losing time when his tyres were not ready at his pit stop but, after a late rain shower, he finished 13th. The team’s next on-track engagement begins on Tuesday with testing at Jerez.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) Race Classification: DNF Tyres Used: Medium, Wet, Medium Qualifying Classification: 9th Time: 1m 32.570s (+1.120s in Q3) Grid: 9th "Clearly that’s not the way I wanted to finish my home race. It is very disappointing for the team because we had an opportunity to score points. Even after the rain and everything we were in a good position. We were quick, as quick as the cars in front, so we could really have scored some important points today. With the incident with Nick, I made a little mistake in the corner before and he was able to close up and then he made a move at the final corner and we collided. In general he is a very fair driver but these things happen in racing. It was a racing incident. It is clearly a shame because we could have scored points. We had another good weekend in qualifying and again we didn’t get the result which is disappointing."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
Race Classification: 13th Tyres Used: Medium, Wet, Extreme Wet, Wet, Medium, Wet Qualifying Classification: 8th Time: 1m 32.501s (+1.051s in Q3) Grid: 8th "It was the kind of race where I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong decision at the wrong moments. You cannot know what the weather will do, that is the problem. We took a gamble several times and every time it was the wrong time and things were happening. We had so much bad luck today, I hope it all came at once and we will not have any more. It was a really dramatic race in general because it was down to the strategy, down to g ood luck - so many things that didn’t work at all for me. I had a very good start and was running fifth but that is racing in the rain, full of good and bad surprises. What really hurt me was the beginning of the race when there was a shower and there was a bigger shower on the lap I came in. I was very unlucky because the red flag came at the wrong time for me. In dry conditions I was quite competitive and I was catching up the cars in front but we had some problem at the pit stops. It was a race to forget."
Tadashi Yamashina – Team Principal
"First we must analyse some faults that we faced during today’s race. We had some problems in the garage work, and also tyre preparations and how we utilise the weather report. That is the only thing to say. The two drivers do their best during this kind of weather conditions and I very much appreciate that. Unfortunately Ralf had a collision and Jarno got to the end. The two drivers did their best. We are not sure of all the facts bu t we must analyse some causes in order to strengthen our team for the future."