Platzhalter Motorsport

Panasonic Toyota Racing: Barcelona Test Round-Up

Barcelona Test Round-Up

Location: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Dates: 15-18 February 2005
Drivers: Jarno Trulli (15-16), Ricardo Zonta (15-16), Ralf Schumacher (17-18) Track Length: 4.627km

Jarno Trulli – Chassis TF105/04
Best lap time: 1m16.072s
Total laps: 222
Total distance: 1027.2km

- Jarno, this was your first test with most of the aerodynamic package that will race in the Australian Grand Prix. How did it go?
It has gone quite well. We put in a lot of laps – 100 on Tuesday and 122 on Wednesday – but it has been quite difficult to make a precise judgement about how the car is performing because of the unusual track conditions here this week. They changed the Barcelona track surface recently, making it difficult to understand how to get the best out of the car and the tyres. The wind has also been gusting, which has made it harder to make direct comparisons.

- What are your first impressions of the new package?
It went very well straightaway, and it is certainly an improvement. But what has been unusual this week is that drivers have gone quicker with very old tyres than with brand new ones, so it is hard to understand the real potential of the car. No one has done quick laps straightaway here – instead you need to do a lot of laps to get your pace up. We worked that out a bit late, but we are still confident looking ahead to Melbourne.

Ralf Schumacher – Chassis TF105/04
Best lap time: 1m16.281s
Total laps: 133
Total distance: 615.4km

- Ralf, how much progress has there been on the TF105 with the new aerodynamic package this week?
The new aerodynamic package obviously improves the car massively. We can't give an exact figure of how much it has improved because the conditions here have been difficult and people's lap times have been all over the place. It is also hard to compare lap times with the last time we were in Barcelona because the circuit was brand new. But it always helps to have more downforce and this is quite an improvement. We still have work to do but we are reasonably happy with the package so far. Late on Friday I spun due to an electrical problem and we decided to stop the test because there was not enough time to fix it and to do any more meaningful work.

- Teams seem to be struggling to go quick on their first lap out. Will that be a problem when the season starts in Australia?
I think that's been a problem for all the drivers here this week. With the new harder tyres and less downforce it seems to be more difficult to generate the heat in the tyres for the first lap. But it has been exceptionally cold here in Barcelona, so I would imagine that should not be such a problem when we start running at more normal temperatures. We'll be going to Melbourne doing our very best to start the season with a solid points finish.

Ricardo Zonta – Chassis TF104/09B
Best lap time: 1m14.502s
Total laps: 173
Total distance: 800.5km

- Ricardo, you have been running in last year's TF104. How has the test gone for you?
I spent my two days here working on Michelin tyres, which are going to be very important for this year's new rules. We were running on the TF104 with changes to the downforce to approximate to this year's cars. It was quite busy for me because we were doing some long runs. It is also difficult to choose tyres on this track surface because you don't feel much difference. But it went very well, and on both days we completed our programme early.

- Your next planned appearance for Panasonic Toyota Racing will be in Melbourne. What will you be doing in the meantime?
From here I am heading back home to Brazil for ten days. From there I will fly directly to Australia, where I will arrive on the Tuesday before the grand prix weekend, ready to drive the third car on Friday.

* Olivier Panis will test for Panasonic Toyota Racing at Valencia from February 22-25. Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta are not scheduled to do any more running before the Australian Grand Prix.