Panasonic Toyota Racing
Chinese Grand Prix - Preview
Panasonic Toyota Racing is swiftly back in action again this weekend with the Chinese Grand prix at the impressive Shanghai International Circuit. After an extremely disappointing result in the wet in the Japanese Grand Prix at the team's home track of Fuji Speedway last weekend, the team heads across the East China Sea for the penultimate race of the season. Unlike the historic Fuji Speedway, Shanghai is a new facility, having first hosted Formula 1 in 2004. The 5.451km track follows an unusual lay-out, incorporating two long straights but also the unique first right-left-right complex of turns, which tightens and twists. With so little time since the last race, Toyota will run the same package as Fuji, but the tyre compounds will change, with Bridgestone bring their medium and hard Potenza tyres to Shanghai. The end of the season is in sight and the team is determined to finish strongly.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11): "The Shanghai International Circuit is a really impressive facility. For the team the garages and the offices are as good as anywhere and for the drivers the circuit itself is a real challenge. It has some technically demanding corners, particularly turn 1 which tightens and just seems to keep on going! It is important not to make a mistake here. It's a fun place to race and I am looking forward to it. We have not had much chance of a rest between the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix but I am still looking forward to this race and I hope to get a good result. The result in Japan was very disappointing, especially as it was our home race. The weather was terrible on Saturday and Sunday but the conditions are the same for everyone. Let's hope we have better weather in Shanghai."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12): "It's good to be going back to China again, to one of the best circuits we visit in terms of the facilities. The track itself is also quite special because there are corners which you just don't find anywhere else, like turn 1. It is a challenge to find the best set-up for Shanghai because of the mixture of slow twists and long straights. Even though there are two quite long straights it is still quite hard to overtake here, with the one main opportunity coming at the end of the back straight. We are nearly at the end of the season and we have just had a frustrating weekend in Japan. It has been a difficult season but I would like to end it with good results and I believe we have the potential to do that in China."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "Shanghai is quite a unique circuit in terms of lay-out but when it comes to most of the parameters on the car, such as brake wear, demands on the engine, it is on average. There are two long straights at Shanghai but you find an interesting situation because of turn 13, which is a very long right-hander. It is so important that, even with the long straights, you find that using relatively high downforce is best for lap times. The one overtaking opportunity is at the end of the back straight but even this is quite difficult because you have to follow the car through turn 13. We are hopeful as always of a strong result. We will use the same specification of car as we did at Fuji Speedway because of the short time between the two races. The conditions in Japan made it hard to evaluate our Fuji package but we know from testing that it has brought a step forward so we hope to show that in China."