Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Shanghai empty-handed following a disappointing afternoon’s work at an action-packed Chinese Grand Prix. The race began in wet conditions after the rain that had long threatened arrived precisely as the cars left the grid for the parade lap. Toyota had come into Sunday with high hopes after Ralf Schumacher took 6th place on the grid. Unfortunately he spun on the first lap and he dropped to the back of the field. From there he began a charge, making up great ground in the early stages, passing several cars and running as high as 12th. But his race ended when he spun out on lap 27, shortly after pitting for dry tyres. Jarno Trulli started in 12th place and made it up to 9th before his stop for dry tyres on lap 25. Further rain initially impeded his progress but he battled to bring the car home in 13th. After this disappointment the team will now regroup at Interlagos in the city of Sao Paulo for the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Octobe r 21.
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
Race Classification 13th (+1 lap) Tyres Used: Wet Medium
Qualifying Classification 13th Time: 1m 36.959s (+1.578s in Q2) Grid: 12th
"This weekend has been a real struggle for me. Yesterday I had problems with the balance of my car and today’s race was always going to be a challenge as a result. Still, we made a good start and I was making good ground on the wet tyres given the conditions. But after the pit stop we lost a few places. It was a difficult race for everyone and it just didn’t work out for me. I gave my best and pushed hard but it was not possible to score points. Now we head to the last race in Brazil and we will hope for a better result there."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05)
Race Classification DNF Tyres Used: Wet Medium
Qualifying Classification 6th Time: 1m 38.013s (+2.105s in Q3) Grid: 6th
"That was a tough, disappointing race. I spun on the first lap while trying to avoid a collision with another car. After that we were able to make up good ground and I passed a lot of cars. It was a pity that Liuzzi hit me but I’m sure it was not on purpose. At that point the track was drying so we took the risk to switch to dry tyres because we didn’t have much to lose. But then the quick shower arrived, I lost grip and the engine died. It was an enjoyable race but it’s too bad we don’t have a result. I only have one race left for Toyota but I will head to Brazil seeking to score as many points as possible to end my time here on a high note."
Tadashi Yamashina – Team Principal
"The team did an excellent job in qualifying and we had good positions but again we had a miserable start to the race on Ralf’s car. We have to analyse carefully what happened. After that the car showed it was very competitive on the standard wet tyres and the two drivers showed their best performance in these conditions. But when we changed to dry tyres both drivers faced difficulties. That was the key to the race. The timing of the pit stops and the selection of the tyres were not bad but still we need to analyse what happened after the switch. This was always going to be a difficult race with such an unstable weather forecast but given these conditions the pit crew did a good job. Now we will head to Brazil hoping to do our best in the final race."