Panasonic Toyota Racing has today concluded two days of testing at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France. Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis kicked off the action on Wednesday with the Brazilian behind the wheel of a TF104B working on Michelin tyre tests. Panis, meanwhile, had one day in charge of the TF105, assessing tyres for Bahrain and software development. Jarno Trulli took over from Olivier on Thursday, but an off-track excursion combined with poor weather conditions ended his running early.
The initially scheduled third day of running has been cancelled after the team was confident it had acquired enough information over the first two days. As part of the agreement to limit testing to thirty days during the season, Toyota opted to end the week's session early in order to conserve one of these invaluable days, particularly in spite of the inclement weather conditions in Le Castellet.
Dieter Gass – Chief Race and Test Engineer "It was quite an eventful two days for us this week with some technical problems affecting our running. With Ricardo we were using the TF104B car to assess Michelin tyres for Imola, as well as more general tyre development testing. We are pleased with the results that Ricardo was able to collect over two days. Olivier also worked on tyres yesterday, more specifically on option tyre evaluation for Bahrain. He also carried out some software development work over his 70 laps. Jarno was due to begin set-up and aero work for next weekend's Bahrain GP, but poor weather and a spin into the barriers late in the day hampered his running. We nevertheless feel confident enough for Bahrain and decided to stop our programme one day earlier than planned to save one of our restricted number of test days."
Ricardo Zonta – Best Lap: 1m04.213s – 121 laps Olivier Panis – Best Lap: 1m05.581s – 70 laps
Ricardo Zonta – Best Lap: 1m03.840s – 69 laps Jarno Trulli – Best Lap: 1m06.720s – 40 laps
Panasonic Toyota Racing now turns its attention to the third round of this year's F1 world championship, which takes place in Bahrain next week. The team heads to the Bahrain International Circuit with renewed confidence on the back of its incredible Malaysian Grand Prix, which saw Jarno Trulli take Toyota's maiden podium finish with a spirited drive to second place. With Ralf Schumacher taking a strong fifth place in Sepang, Toyota currently lies second in the constructors' championship with twelve points.
Preview quotes for the 2nd Bahrain Grand Prix will be sent out on Tuesday 29 March.