Panasonic Toyota Racing today made a solid start to its preparations for the last race of 2005, the Chinese Grand Prix. On a cloudy Friday on the outskirts of Shanghai the rain held off and third driver Ricardo Zonta had two busy sessions, recording the second quickest time of the afternoon. It was Jarno Trulli's first visit to the Shanghai International Circuit because he missed the track's arrival on the calendar last year, but both he and Ralf Schumacher completed their programmes. Toyota will now bid to end the season with a good result on Sunday.
SHANGHAI AND DRY
With the threat of rain hanging over Shanghai, Ralf Schumacher raced to beat the clock and finish his programme.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/09B) First Session Classification: 13th, 13 laps completed Lap Time: 1m36.866s (+3.403s) Second Session Classification: 18th, 20 laps completed Lap Time: 1m36.051s (+3.217s)
"It's nice to be back here in China. I like the circuit but just like last year it was very dirty to start with until the rubber started to go down. I had some understeer so we still have quite a lot of work to do on our set-up for tomorrow. But our target is to push for a good slot in qualifying, then hopefully to have another decent race and to score points."
NEW KID ON THE TRACK
Jarno Trulli missed last year's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix so today was a rare learning experience for the Italian.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/10B) First Session Classification: 19th, 9 laps completed Lap Time: 1m37.764s (+4.301s) Second Session Classification: 19th, 26 laps completed Lap Time: 1m36.079s (+3.245s)
"This is my first time here at Shanghai and I've been impressed both by the city and by the facilities here. Of course that means I had to learn the circuit today but I was able to put in a lot of laps before my late stop with a suspected clutch problem this afternoon. I'm not entirely happy with the balance so we will have to look closely at that overnight."
THAT FRIDAY FEELING
Ricardo Zonta spent his last Friday of practice in 2005 working on tyre comparison, finishing the afternoon 2nd fastest.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/02) First Session Classification: 3rd, 24 laps completed Lap Time: 1m35.373s (+1.910s) Second Session Classification: 2nd, 29 laps completed Lap Time: 1m32.977s (+0.143s)
"Overall I'm pretty happy with how today went. We were pretty competitive in terms of pace so I hope the rest of the weekend goes well for the race drivers. This morning the track was very similar to how it was last year – very dusty – but it improved as the track started to rubber in. That brings me to the end of my season of work on Fridays. They have been busy sessions but I've enjoyed driving the TF105 so it's been a fun year."
TAO OF POWER
The Chinese Grand Prix is the last race for the V10 – an engine architecture that has dominated F1 for over a decade.
Luca Marmorini – Technical Director Engine "This weekend we will race our RVX-05 V10 engine for the last time. The year has gone very well but it has not been easy because we have had many problems to overcome, each one unpredictable. But we did a good job and we hope to have learned more for next year. From an engineering perspective it is good to have new challenges so we are looking forward to the arrival of the V8. Today we thought it might rain but it held off and we could complete the programme. Ricardo did his usual work on tyre evaluation and we have lots of information for our tyre choice. The race drivers concentrated on set-up work, and both reported understeer and a lack of grip so we still have some work to do. Our only problem was when Jarno stopped at the end of the second session with a suspected clutch problem. We still have to investigate exactly what happened but we don't think it is too serious. Overall, that was a reasonable first day."