Panasonic Toyota Racing
Japanese Grand Prix - Preview
Panasonic Toyota Racing is on home ground this weekend for the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway. The historic track, which hosted Japan's first-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1976, is truly spectacular, both for the stunning backdrop of Mount Fuji and the longest straight in Formula 1, at 1.475km. That straight not only provides an opportunity to overtake if a car can get close enough on the exit of Panasonic Corner, it also presents a set-up challenge. With a third of the 4.563km track taken up by the flat-out blast past the pits, high speed is vitally important, but the remainder of the track requires greater downforce to generate grip through the slow-speed corners in sectors two and three. Following another strong showing in Singapore, where Timo Glock finished a superb fourth, Panasonic Toyota Racing is fired up to deliver a strong result as the fight for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship reaches fever pitch.
Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "I enjoy visiting Fuji Speedway and I was very impressed by the facilities there last season. I am definitely looking forward to having a much luckier weekend at Fuji Speedway compared to Singapore. I have to forget about what happened there because I would have finished in the top six but I had the hydraulic problem, which has not happened before. That was a real shame because now we are five points away from fourth in the Constructors' Championship. But I have confidence going into the Japanese Grand Prix, which is an important race for us as a team and of course for our Japanese fans. It is impossible for me and the team to push any harder than we have already been doing this season, because we have given everything, but I know our fans will give us great support as always and I will be fighting really hard to get a strong result."
Timo Glock (Car 12): "Singapore was a good race for me and I was pleased to score five points but we still lost ground in the Constructors' Championship so we want to hit back immediately and that means scoring plenty of points in the Japanese Grand Prix. This will be my first visit to Fuji Speedway and I am looking forward to it, especially as I am a Toyota driver and I'm sure we will get a lot of support. Having not driven the track before it's hard to make predictions but we have been strong at most races this season and we are very motivated to be competitive again. Singapore was a bit too bumpy for our car so we could not show our true potential but I don't expect the same problem at Fuji Speedway, although from what I have heard the weather can be an issue there. I actually enjoy driving in the rain and I believe it is one of my strong points, so I don't mind what the weather does!"
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "The Japanese Grand Prix is a special race for our team and it is important to us to do well. Fuji Speedway has every type of corner; slow, medium and high speed, plus a very long straight. In terms of setting up the car it is challenging because you have to be able to deal with all these situations, although in general you can say that the track requires medium downforce. It is a track which requires our baseline aero configuration. We have put a lot of effort into developing our baseline package throughout the season and we have produced some upgrades for this race. We call it our Fuji package but in fact some bits are already on the car and the most recent items can be used at all the last three Grands Prix of the season. It should help us. It is medium grip and it shows no special severities in terms of tyres or brakes. One other thing we learnt last year was that the weather can be awful! But we saw at Monza that we have strong
pace in wet conditions so that does not worry us."
For a video and text feature looking at Panasonic Toyota Racing's Japanese staff, in particular third driver Kamui Kobayashi, please visit the Broadcast Room on www.toyota-f1-world.com.