Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta will start from 15th and 18th positions respectively for the 32nd Brazilian Grand Prix after a frustrating qualifying session for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team at the Interlagos track today. Handling difficulties on Da Matta's TF103 and a driving error on Panis's run prevented the team from capitalising on a notable performance in early morning practice, when the team scored its debut first place in a race weekend timed session.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Session Classification: 15th Lap Time: 1m14.839s (+ 1.032s from pole) Starting position: 15th
"When I started my qualifying lap, everything was fine with the car. I tried to push hard but I made a big mistake in the second sector and we are down in fifteenth as a result. I really want to say sorry to the team because we did a great job in free practice this morning and the car is really good in terms of performance, so obviously I am extremely disappointed for the team and myself but tomorrow is another day and I will try to drive to the limit tomorrow to get some points."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/02
Session Classification: 18th Lap Time: 1m15.641s (+1.834s from pole) Starting Position: 10th
"Due to the bad weather conditions yesterday, we simply haven't had enough track time to find the optimum set up on the car for this track. I experienced problems with the grip levels and the general handling of the car this morning, so we made some changes to the set-up, which did not make any difference. I am really unhappy to be starting my home GP from so far back on the grid, but we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Keizo Takahashi - General Manager, Car Design and Development "Unfortunately, we were not able to reproduce our speed from this morning's practice. We had trouble with the set up on Cristiano's car, and could not find the correct balance to allow him to get the most out of the car. Olivier made a mistake in the second sector of his flying lap and lost one second. It is disappointing because we should have been much higher up the grid for this race. Nevertheless we will keep at it and hope for a top eight finish tomorrow."
Weather: Dry and hot with some cloud and sunshine
Temperatures: Air 25-26, Track 33-38, Average humidity 55%
T-car: TF103/01 set-up for Cristiano da Matta.
Review: Heavy rain resulted in an unproductive Friday free practice session. After just 5 laps in the one-hour session, Olivier Panis was classified in 7th with a best time of 1m31.518s. Cristiano da Matta completed 6 laps. His fastest time of 1m31.548s placed him 8th. In first qualifying, Panis took 6th spot on a drying Interlagos track and Da Matta claimed 11th place. In the Sao Paulo sunshine on Saturday morning, the team took its debut P1 in a timed F1 session with Olivier Panis setting a best time of 1m13.457. Da Matta was not happy with his car's handling, which contributed to a spin 15-minutes before the end of the session, the Brazilian in 16th (1m14.819s), but just 1.3s from his team-mate.