Panasonic Toyota Racing experienced an unsatisfactory start to its 2003 Austrian Grand Prix campaign at the A1-Ring today. Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta qualified down in 14th and 16th places respectively after first qualifying, although the team made some improvements to the set-up on the TF103s after a lacklustre free practice hour this morning.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Session Classification: 14th
Lap Time: 1m09.764s +1.856s from pole
Starting position: 17th
"I am not really satisfied, to be honest. We had a very difficult free practice with set-up problems and we didn't make really any changes to the car during the session. We made some adjustments for qualifying and I think the performance this afternoon was acceptable, but we still have a lot to do ahead of the race qualifying tomorrow. I am not too worried though. I think we can still realistically expect a top ten grid position, which will put us in good shape for the race."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/07
Session Classification: 16th
Lap Time: 1m10.370s +2.462s from pole
Starting Position: 12th
"Today was my first time on the A1-Ring, and I suppose that could have something to do with the result, but I think the biggest reason why we are struggling right now is down to the set-up of the car. I believe there is still something more I can get from myself on the track, but the main part is going come from the car. Since we started this morning, the set-up of the car just hasn't been working. Something with the balance of the car just isn't right. We haven't been able to find any representative improvements, so we have to keep trying."
Gustav Brunner - Chief Designer
"We have struggled a bit today to find any sort of good set-up on the cars. We made some changes after this morning's practice and the drivers did a reasonable job in qualifying with some handling issues that still need to be resolved. I don't think we should be too concerned. We have 90 minutes of practice tomorrow to make further progress. I think tomorrow's qualifying will be a different story - and that is the one that counts."
Weather: Dry and sunny with scattered cloud. Cool.
T-Car: TF103/04 set up for Olivier Panis
Free Practice Review: The team struggled in this morning's free practice with a poor set-up, which resulted in imbalance and bad handling on both TF103s. Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis only managed the 17th and 18th fastest times in the one-hour session completing 28 and 21 laps respectively. It was Da Matta's debut run on the A1-Ring.