Panasonic Toyota Racing today kicked off its preparations for the last race of the 2007 F1 season with a busy day’s work at the Interlagos circuit. This race weekend Toyota will bid farewell to Ralf Schumacher and third driver Franck Montagny so there is a determination to come away with a strong result as thanks for their services to the team. Following overnight showers in Sao Paulo the morning began in damp, grey conditions with further rain for much of the first session. The track dried out during the afternoon and both Ralf and Jarno Trulli had busy days of running, ending the afternoon 11th and 16th fastest respectively. Toyota has already taken part in one sporting contest this week as the team’s mechanics took third place in the annual Petrobras football tournament, including a memorable 6-3 win over F1 title contenders McLaren. Now the engineers will look to build on today’s solid start as they look to finish the year on a positive note and give Ralf and Franck the b est possible send-off.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05)
First Session 6th 22 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 21.243s (+1.663s)
Second Session 11th 29 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 13.834s (+1.062s)
"It was an exciting day of practice because we had every kind of track condition, starting off wet and then ending up dry. But everything went well today so we can be happy with what we have achieved. The organisers have done a really good job with the new tarmac – it’s very smooth and there are no more bumps. This is my last race for Toyota and I’m pushing as hard as I can for a decent result both for myself and for the team. We were competitive at the last race and even though we didn’t finish it was enjoyable. So we can hope for more of the same here and aim to finish off the season on a high note."
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
First Session 9th 26 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 22.104s (+2.524s)
Second Session 16th 25 laps completed Lap Time: 1m 14.234s (+1.467s)
"From the start of the first session the car wasn’t as I wanted it so that was a difficult day for me. We will have to look into why that is because it seems we have a few problems. It is not really a question of balance but it is more that we haven’t been able to make the tyres work properly. So it has not been a particularly good day. The new track surface is very good so they have done a good job. The bumps which were always a problem at this track in the past have been removed and it is a big improvement. It’s been a long time since my last result so I am determined to go home happy on Sunday. For that we need to score some points."
Dieter Gass – Chief Engineer Race and Test
"That was quite a difficult Friday today because of the weather. With the new tarmac we would love to have had two dry sessions to be able to assess the tyre behaviour. But with less than one session of dry running we had to try and squeeze everything into one hour, which was impossible. So we ran different programmes on the two cars, trying to maximise the information we could collect. We now obviously need to look into the data and decide what we’re going to do for tomorrow. The new tarmac has significantly reduced the bumps but it is still difficult to say how the tyre behaviour will change over the weekend. We are expecting dry weather and now we must work hard for qualifying and the race."