Panasonic Toyota Racing was back in action today after Formula 1's traditional summer break, with the first two practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. Almost three weeks have passed since the last race, when Ralf Schumacher finished a strong 6th in Hungary, and the team is optimistic of another positive result after a very promising first day in Turkey. Practice started in bright sunshine with an air temperature of over 30°C and Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli quickly got to work on track. Both drivers were among several to suffer spins on a green track but no damage was done and the team's programme continued as planned. The team resumed work on set-up and understanding the medium and hard Bridgestone Potenza tyres in the second session. Plans were disrupted when a drain cover worked loose on the edge of the circuit, causing a red flag period which lasted almost 30 minutes. When the problem was fixed, Ralf and Jarno got back to work and completed a t rouble-free session in a very encouraging 3rd and 4th. The team now focuses on maximising the TF107's potential ahead of tomorrow's qualifying sessions.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05)
First Session 7th 24 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 29.414s (+1.426s)
Second Session 3rd 23 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 28.773s (+0.304s)
"So far everything is going fine and we can be happy with our work today. We went through most of our programme despite the time lost in the second session. We worked on set-up and tyre choices and everything seemed to go well. The results today were encouraging with 3rd place in second practice and we hope we can convert our form today into a strong qualifying result. It's only Friday so it's hard to tell where we are but our first target for qualifying is to get both cars in the top 10. I think we have a good chance to do well. My performance in qualifying and the race in Hungary showed we are capable of fighting for strong results and I hope we can do that again. Now we will focus on getting the most out of the car for qualifying, when I hope to give myself another opportunity to score good points."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
First Session 10th 26 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 29.685s (+1.697s)
Second Session 4th 28 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 28.874s (+0.405s)
"It was a reasonable day for me today. We worked on the set-up but I had a bit of an issue getting the car exactly how I want it. I was not so happy with the balance and I felt that under braking I could not push as hard as I wanted to, so now we will work hard to find a compromise before qualifying. We will look at the data before practice tomorrow and work hard to improve the balance so I can get the most out of the car. I am really focused and motivated this weekend to score points again because I have had a couple of unlucky races. I expect to once again get into Q3 and from there I am ready to score points. The battle in the midfield is very tight and we know we cannot afford any mistakes but I am confident we can push for another strong result here."
Dieter Gass - Chief Engineer Race and Test
"It is good to be back in action, particularly here in Turkey where we have such great facilities. Overall it was a positive day for us and we had no major trouble. The long interruption in the second session was a bit of a shame because we couldn't get through all our planned programme. But that was out of our hands and in general everything went well. As usually in Istanbul the circuit evolves quite a lot, especially on a Friday, and we expect the circuit conditions to evolve more as the weekend goes on. We worked on the medium and hard tyres and they pretty much behaved as expected, so we should have a clear picture of their performance for Sunday's race. We are happy with our level of performance so far and we hope we can make a further improvement overnight. We seem to be in strong shape."