Platzhalter Motorsport

Panasonic Toyota Racing: GP of Italy - Preview

Grand Prix of Italy - Selected Preview Quotes

Ricardo Zonta - Race Driver, Car Number 16
"To show everyone we could run fourth at Spa was a great confidence-booster both for me and for the team. I have a much better feel for the car in race conditions and I know how hard I can push to get the best out of the whole TF104B package. Now we head to Monza where I believe Panasonic Toyota Racing has a greater chance of doing well than at some of the slow speed tracks. But we still need to work hard in order to get into the points. The Italian Grand Prix is the last European race of the year, so I hope we can get a good result to build up the momentum before the new-look season finale in China, Japan and Brazil."

Olivier Panis - Race Driver, Car Number 17
"I am very positive about this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. We have a very strong engine, so that should certainly help us on Monza's long straights, and the TF104B is an improved chassis aerodynamically, which will be advantageous. If we have consistent tyres again and we race without any problems we should be able to score points. It's difficult to judge how competitive the other teams will be this weekend based on last week's extensive Monza test because we do not know in which configurations everyone else was running. However, following on from our single point in Spa, our objective as a team is to move up the constructors' championship. At the moment we are in eighth place, so we must try our best to reduce the gap to the top six."

Ryan Briscoe - Third Driver, Car Number 38
"I have raced only twice at Monza, but it's a track I know well from testing. I've enjoyed my first two races as Panasonic Toyota Racing's third driver. Friday is a busy day and arguably the most important of the weekend because we have limited time to do a lot of work. We have to make quick decisions, be very quick with set-up changes and get as much running with the car as possible. All teams come to Monza with a certain amount of data from last week's test, but even though we tested the Michelin tyres, the temperatures might be different and there will be different amounts of rubber on the track, so we will have to go through the whole programme and make the choice as normal."

Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal
"From an operations point of view, I think the Belgian Grand Prix was one of the best performances in Toyota's short F1 history, and is the evidence of our continued growth. The engine failure that prevented us from capitalising on our strategy in Spa was caused by a broken bearing. We have done everything in our power to ensure this problem never recurs. Everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing is now ready for a successful Italian GP weekend. We hope to benefit from the high-speed nature of the Monza track, which should play to the strengths of our TF104B. We have cleared many hurdles during this challenging season and now we are ready for the overdue results. Scoring championship points in Monza would be a good start."

Lap of Monza with Ryan Briscoe
"Monza is the fastest race track on the Formula 1 calendar, and that makes it a very fun circuit to drive. I've driven round the track in a couple of other formulae, but it's especially enjoyable in an F1 car. You can feel the speed because it's one of the few remaining circuits with really long straights. Heading down the start-finish straight, you reach one of the highest speeds on the F1 calendar - in the race the cars are travelling at over 360kmh. But the first chicane is first gear and very slow, so the braking is very heavy. The braking point is important and you've really got to concentrate hard to hit it perfectly. When you're arriving at such high speed it's easy to brake either slightly too late or slightly too early. That makes for good racing, and in the race it's a very good place for passing. The chicane is very tight but the kerbs are quite flat and you can ride both of them. You exit the corner in first gear and you need good traction because you accelerate up to seventh round the Curva Biassono, taken flat, into the second chicane, the Variante della Roggia. It's quite a bit faster than the first chicane and taken in second gear. The kerbs are much higher and you bounce off them a lot more, so a lot more car control is needed through there. I've seen lots of passing there as well, so it's another possible overtaking spot - even if it's a bit more difficult than the first chicane. From there we reach fourth gear on the way up to the first of the two Lesmo corners. It's taken in third gear at over 180kmh. It's quite a long corner, and you need to keep up your speed all the way through. On the exit you need to get on the power early, and you make it up to fourth again before dropping back to third for the second Lesmo. That is taken at similar speed but it's tighter, almost right-angled. It has a short apex and you just clip the apex and let it drift. After that you head down the back straight, all the way back up to seventh gear. You go round a left hand kink then down the hill under the old oval circuit before coming up again into braking for the Ascari chicane. Ascari is a great corner - it's fast, taken in third gear and one of my favourite parts of the circuit. You use a bit of the inside kerb on the entry, then you're on full throttle through the right-hand kink and then the left back onto the back straight. We make it into seventh gear again for quite some time on the run-up to the last corner, Parabolica. It's not as long as the start-finish straight but depending on the wind, we get up to the same kind of speed as the first chicane. We generally run quite low downforce at Monza, so the main difficulty is that the car's grip is lower and under braking you get a bit more movement than at other circuits. Parabolica itself is very fast with a very long exit. So you brake but you keep the speed coming into the corner - which can be taken in third or fourth depending on the gear ratios. You don't drop much below 200kmh all the way around and it's hard on the neck because of the lateral G-Force. On exit you get early on the power and you let the car drift as much as possible, coming out of the corner on the very outside as you prepare to start another lap."