Panasonic Toyota Racing heads east to Budapest and the twisty Hungaroring circuit for the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, the last race before Formula 1’s summer break. The team suffered home disappointment at the Nürburgring last time out after a chaotic, rain-affected race but returns to action determined to improve. The 4.384km Hungaroring circuit presents a unique challenge on the Formula 1 calendar, with 14 tight corners requiring a high-downforce set-up. As if that is not demanding enough for the drivers, temperatures in Budapest in August are traditionally very high, making Sunday’s 70-lap race a test of endurance, but Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli have trained for the challenge. The team has planned for the set-up challenge of the Hungaroring, and it also has an updated floor for this weekend and beyond. Bridgestone are bringing their soft and super soft Potenza tyres to Hungary so Ralf and Jarno will be busy in practice evaluating their performance and optimisi ng the TF107 before battling to return to the points.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "The Hungarian Grand Prix weekend is always enjoyable because there are so many enthusiastic fans at the Hungaroring and the city of Budapest itself is beautiful. Visiting Budapest in August means we are almost certain to face some very hot temperatures, even if last year was unusually cool. The heat can make it difficult to concentrate but I have done my personal training and I am well prepared so it will be no problem. The nature of the Hungaroring also makes overtaking really difficult so it is more important than normal that we continue our strong recent form in qualifying. Unfortunately we have not translated that into race results and that is our challenge this weekend. I believe we are capable of scoring points so we will just try to do a good job all weekend."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "The Hungaroring is a track I like quite a lot. It is tight and twisty, and it is also quite a bumpy circuit, which makes it very challenging for the drivers. It is important to have a good car balance, as well as grip and traction. We can expect very hot conditions as usual in Budapest so preparation will be very important and I will be very well prepared because I am cycling a lot at the moment to get ready for the hot conditions. I have always performed very well there but I don’t think I got the results I deserved in Hungary so I am really looking forward to a strong race there this weekend. Clearly, the result at the Nürburgring was very disappointing, especially because we had a good chance to score points after we looked competitive earlier in the weekend. That was a disappointing race but we will work hard to achieve a better result in the Hungarian Grand Prix."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "Hungary is one of the places where teams generally face cooling problems for the brakes and engine. That is not because it’s a high braking energy circuit or because there is a lot of full-throttle running, it is because the average speed is low, which simply means the cooling is low. At the Nürburgring we used medium-high downforce and in Budapest it is very high downforce because of the average speed. You tend to gain more there from downforce than you lose from drag. The aero efficiency required is the second lowest in the season, after Monaco, so you tend to put downforce generating parts on the car which you would not see at most other circuits. After our very disappointing European Grand Prix, we are hoping for a much better result in Budapest. In qualifying at the Nürburgring we clearly showed a competitive pace, as in the last couple of events. We were expecting to score points but in the race we made too many mistake s, and Ralf’s race ended after being hit by Heidfeld, so we missed another opportunity. I believe we have the speed to score points but we must prove that in the race this weekend."