Belgium's Ardennes region can usually be relied upon to provide interesting weather for the country's grand prix and this weekend is no exception. There was a burst of rain shortly before Friday's first practice session which took place on a drying line, while the afternoon's session was all but wiped out by a torrential downpour. With more rain expected for the weekend, it is sure to be another intriguing Belgian Grand Prix. For Panasonic Toyota Racing, third driver Ricardo Zonta was at least able to put in a large number of laps during the morning, ending with the 4th fastest time.
JARNEAU, EAU, EAU
After a largely dry season, this afternoon went to the other weather extreme, washing out almost the entire session.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/07)
First Session Classification: 7th, 9 laps completed Lap Time: 1m50.542s (+2.336s) Second Session Classification: 17th No laps completed No lap time
"We were expecting this to be a wet weekend, and the weather forecast is still bad so it's likely to be a tough weekend because we haven't done much wet testing this year. Spa is the best circuit in the world, and the most fun to drive, but the intensity of the rain can vary hugely so that can have a big impact on circuit conditions. Still, it will be the same for everyone. Last year I took pole in the wet here so we'll be hoping for a positive result."
Like the rest of the grid, Ralf Schumacher also missed out on most of today's action due to the heavy rain.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/05) First Session Classification: 9th, 8 laps completed Lap Time: 1m50.820s (+2.614s) Second Session Classification: 18th No laps completed No lap time
"Unfortunately weather like that means that this will be a hard weekend for all the teams. Obviously it makes it very difficult to pick which dry tyre to run – if we ever get a chance to run on dries this weekend. It makes tomorrow busier, too. We'll have to go out in the wet eventually. There have been no wet races yet this year and at Toyota we haven't done much testing in the wet either. So we'll have to wait and see how it works out."
GOOD MORNING, BAD AFTERNOON
Ricardo Zonta had his usual busy morning, before the afternoon's downpour ruined his chances of testing more tyres.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/02) First Session Classification: 4th, 22 laps completed Lap Time: 1m49.445s (+1.239s) Second Session Classification: 23rd No laps completed No lap time
"It's a pity we missed out on this afternoon's session because Spa is always a fun place to drive. But this morning the circuit started out damp, so we had a chance to try out the shallow wets. The balance changes when you switch to dry tyres so at least we are able to learn something about that in case we need to use it in the race. Spa is always a good fun place to drive in any conditions and today gave us a typical mixture of weather."
ARDENNES IS WATER, MAN
After this afternoon's washout the teams will have to do with far less data than usual from Friday's free practice.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis "That was a reasonably typical Spa wet day with difficult conditions which would have been dangerous to run in. Our weather forecast predicted that it would be wet for the afternoon so we did a reasonable amount of running in the first session. Ricardo was able to run both on shallow wets and dry tyres and conduct some evaluations, while both race drivers also had a run in the dry so at least we have some information for the tyre choice tonight."