Following eighth place result at two of the last three races, the Panasonic Toyota Racing team is aiming for more world championship points in Silverstone this weekend at the British Grand Prix.
Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta took part in a four-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona after the French Grand Prix. Close work with tyre partner Michelin gave positive results and the team has some good rubber at its disposal for the Silverstone race. Panis also evaluated a brand new aerodynamic package in Spain, which he and team-mate da Matta will use in Britain. After Barcelona, both drivers moved to the U.K. to participate in the Goodwood Festival of Speed where the team ran its TF103 race car up the famous hill.
The Weekend Ahead
Silverstone is the so-called home of British motor racing and was the location for the first ever F1 championship race, which was held back in 1950. The track is one of the fastest on the calendar with a mix of high-speed corners and technical sections. Panasonic Toyota Racing will draw on data collected at a three-day test at the U.K. track back at the beginning of June, where da Matta completed a very promising session.
Ove Andersson, Team Principal
"We are heading into the coming weekend with a very positive mind, as we made big progress over the past few races. We managed to qualify in the top ten and to get a couple of significant points. We now hope the new aero package will enable us to make up further ground on the teams ahead of us. In terms of track speed, we can certainly compare the Silverstone race to the Spanish Grand Prix, where we were both quick and reliable, and we want to regain this form. A double point finish in Silverstone would be a deserving reward for all our efforts and recent progress."
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20
"I was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, which was quite good fun. The passion that fans have for motorsport is fabulous and it is very good for them to be able to get so close to the cars. The weather in Britain has been very hot over the past few days and I hope it remains like this for the rest of the week. Silverstone is one of my personal favourite tracks, because it is so fast and technically challenging. There are many high-speed sections, which should suit our TF103 race car, so I am very positive in this respect. We have some new aero parts for this race, which we hope will enhance our performance. We are all determined to get some good points after we have made continuous improvements in recent race weekends."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21
"Silverstone is definitely my favourite track of the season and it is a circuit of which I have a good knowledge. There are many fast sections, especially Copse and Becketts, which are fun to drive. It is a flowing circuit with a variety of types of corner, which makes the place very challenging – you get a real buzz when you set a good lap. We tested in Silverstone just a few weeks ago and we were quite competitive, so I am looking forward to putting in a strong showing there. Olivier has told me he is very encouraged by the new aero parts we are using and I like to think that we can both pick-up points this weekend."
The team suffered from handling problems in a wet Friday free practice, which resulted in 19th and 20th positions. Saturday was a different story with a superb 8th place in qualifying for car 24 – the team's best result of the season. Car 25 had just a three-tenth deficit and started seven places behind in 15th, but failed to make it much further in the race stalling on the grid with a clutch problem. Car 24 retired in lap 15 with a transmission failure.