Panasonic Toyota Racing heads to the high-speed Monza circuit this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix, the home race for Jarno Trulli. After a disappointing race in Turkey on the newest track in Formula 1, the team is determined to bounce back on one of the oldest. Monza was built in 1922 and since then has become synonymous with high-speed racing. Three chicanes have slowed the track slightly over the years but Monza remains a theatre of speed and the team will bring a specific low-downforce aerodynamic package to Italy, including new front and rear wings, and other aerodynamic changes. Jarno and Ralf Schumacher will work on optimising the Monza package, as well as understanding the soft and medium Bridgestone Potenza tyres, when practice begins on Friday. After missing out on points in Turkey, the team are motivated and hopeful of a return to form in Monza.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "Turkey was a difficult weekend for me after qualifying but, despite the disappointing result, the positive thing was that the car felt good during the race. From where we were on the grid it was almost impossible to achieve a good result but I am confident we can have a better weekend in Italy. It is always nice to race in Italy because of the heritage and history of Monza. We will use a very low downforce set-up because of the long straights but, as well as high speed, having confidence under braking for the tight chicanes is important. It is completely different from most other circuits and that makes Monza an interesting
challenge for drivers. We will have a different aero package on the car for this race because Monza is unique. I'm looking forward to this weekend and hopefully we can show the potential of our car by fighting for more points."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "For me the Italian Grand Prix is special because it is my home race and I get a lot of support from my Italian fans. This is the only race in Italy so I am really looking forward to it. Monza has a really special atmosphere and it is a very different circuit compared to the others, with the very high speeds on the long straights. The engine plays a more important role at Monza than some other tracks and you have to work on setting up the car to be as quick as possible on the straights, but stable under braking because you need to brake hard from high speed. We had a disappointing race in Turkey after my incident at the first corner, which was a shame because the car was well balanced and we were expecting a better result. Now we will focus on getting the most out of the car in Italy and hopefully I can score points in my home race."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "Monza is now a unique challenge in Formula 1, the last very high speed track remaining. Basically we have to make a one-off car for the Italian Grand Prix in order to match the very high efficiency required by the outstanding average speed around the lap. In that sense it is hard to judge how competitive you will be, but I am quite optimistic because we have done a good job and obtained the target figures we had in terms of aero efficiency. Monza is tough on engines because a driver is flat out for more than 70% of the lap. That also makes the engine more of a performance factor at Monza than at other circuits. Other issues we face at Monza are braking stability and riding the kerbs. The kerbs are high and you have to ride them otherwise you lose time, but that forces you to compromise as ideally you would run the car lower and stiffer. As well as high speed, the other aspect to Monza is the history, which makes it a very spe cial venue. I love Italy and it's great to race there. We were unlucky with our race in Turkey but I am optimistic we can be back fighting for points again this weekend."