Panasonic Toyota Racing: GP of Belgium - Preview
Grand Prix of Belgium - Selected Preview Quotes
"Like many F1 drivers, I find Spa-Francorchamps one of the most challenging and enjoyable circuits on the calendar. At almost seven kilometres in length, it easily produces the longest lap of the year, one filled with many technically demanding sections. Spa really highlights the strengths and weaknesses of all drivers and cars. I think our TF104B package will adapt itself well to the medium-high speed track characteristics and I hope we will have a good chance of scoring some points this weekend. Spa is unique and one of the few circuits that are difficult to replicate at test sessions, especially tyre wear. As a result, Friday's practice sessions will be very important, but after a difficult race debut in Hungary, I am much more relaxed and ready to show what we can do in Belgium."
Olivier Panis - Race Driver, Car Number 17
"Ricardo and I had a good day with the team in Cologne last weekend, participating in the Toyota City Grand Prix, where I drove the TF103 and Ricardo took the TF104 through the streets of Cologne. It was an incredible atmosphere and a nice opportunity to give something back to the fans for all their support. We now enter the Belgian Grand Prix, which I hope will mark a turnaround of fortunes for Toyota. It's no secret that I think Spa is the best track on the F1 calendar. I believe that the circuit's long, fast nature should suit our TF104B and play to the strengths of our powerful RVX-04 engine. It also means that there are quite a few different strategies that work around Spa, so it should make for an exciting race weekend."
Ryan Briscoe - Third Driver, Car Number 38
"I was highly satisfied with my first taste of an F1 weekend in Hungary two weeks' ago and I can't wait to step up a gear in free practice for the Belgian GP. Unlike most F1 drivers, I had the chance to race at Spa-Francorchamps last year in a one-off event for me in the British Formula 3 championship. I thought it was a fantastic circuit then, but it must be amazing in an F1 car! The Hungarian GP was a good inauguration for me into the race team, but I feel that I am better prepared for Spa. As a team, our job in Friday practice will determine how we fare for the rest of the weekend with even more emphasis placed on selecting the best tyre compound and finding the best car set-up."
Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal
"We introduced our TF104B car at the German GP two races ago and we also implemented driver and personnel changes for the last event in Hungary, but I really think that Spa will be best place to really assess the performance of these recent revisions to the whole Toyota package. Belgium is also the home of Toyota Motor Corporation's European headquarters, so we will benefit from the additional support of many Toyota family guests. With five races remaining of the 2004 season, we will do our best to score points. I am confident that this trend will begin at Spa."
Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis
"It is great to have the Belgian Grand Prix back on the calendar. Spa-Francorchamps is a circuit that offers drivers and engineers a unique technical challenge. We have some small aero improvements this weekend, which will enable us to run with reduced downforce settings, as we try to balance grip in the corners with straight-line speed. Spa is the type of circuit at which we have been more competitive this season, so we will have to continue to build upon the improvements we have made recently with the TF104B to ensure that we begin to see some tangible results in the last five races of the season."