Panasonic Toyota Racing is today celebrating another world championship point after Frenchman Olivier Panis finished the 70-lap Canadian Grand Prix in 8th place, scoring his own debut point of the year. After challenging for points for most of the race, Cristiano da Matta retired just six laps before the end from eighth position after a suspected suspension problem.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Classification: 8th +1 lap (from race winner)
Starting Position: 7th
"I think this eighth place is a very good result for the team because everybody has done a fantastic job this weekend. I am a little bit disappointed for Cristiano because he drove a strong race, but this is my first championship point of the season and for me it is now the first step. The car went very well throughout the weekend and, from here, we need to continue to build on the car's performance for the second half of the season - starting from the next race at the Nürburgring."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/04
Classification: 11th +6 laps (from race winner)
Starting Position: 9th
"I am very disappointed. I don't know what happened really. Something just wasn't right with the car's suspension at the exit of the chicane and I simply couldn't continue. Everyone did a great job and everything was running normally until the end. At least we can take one point home as a team - I think we deserved it after our combined team performance. The car was handling reasonably well in the race and I think we were running as quickly as we could have, so to miss out on certain points like that so close to the end is extremely annoying."
Ove Andersson - Team Principal
"It has been a encouraging weekend for the team. We are obviously sorry that, Cristiano was forced to stop so close to the end of the race from a points position. Both drivers performed exceptionally well over the whole weekend. At the end of the day the team has picked up a point, which might sound something small, but for us it means a lot. It is a reward for all of our hard work and determination over the last few disappointing races and if you look at the competitiveness in the top 8, it is a nice achievement for us to get a point. I have to say that I am particularly pleased that Olivier has got on the scoreboard. From here, it is onwards and upwards."
Weather: Dry, warm and sunny with some cloud.
T-Car: TF103/07 set up for Cristiano da Matta.
Review: A rain-soaked Friday practice saw Olivier Panis set the 5th fastest time (1m17.464s) with Cristiano da Matta 11th (1m18.559s). The team was pleased to have a trouble-free first qualifying with Panis in 10th (1m37.313s) and Da Matta 16th (1m38.244s). Saturday morning was a troublesome affair with both drivers having incidents during the session. Neither Panis nor Da Matta managed any significant running in the dry second session and were 19th and 20th. Both drivers bounced back in second qualifying posting the 7th and 9th best times - the team's best ever combined qualifying result, and a personal best for Da Matta.
Preview: 17-19 June - Jerez and Paul Ricard test sessions