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Panasonic Toyota Racing: Grand Prix of Australia - Free Practice Round-Up Friday 5 March 2004

Grand Prix of Australia - Free Practice Round-Up Friday 5 March 2004

Motorsport
Cristiano da Matta (Car 16, Chassis TF104/02) First Session Classification: 14th, 11 laps completed Lap Time: 1m28.955s (+3.828s)

Second Session Classification: 16th, 11 laps completed Lap Time: 1m27.710s (+2.992s)

"I only completed twenty-or-so laps today, so it isn't easy to draw too many conclusions from the practice sessions. In the first hour, the track didn't have much grip and we decided not to run much. In the second session, I experienced some brake problems and I was ultimately forced to stop due to a puncture. Not the best start to the weekend, but on a positive note Ricardo did a lot of tyre comparison work today, so we were able to collect some very useful data for the weekend."

Olivier Panis (Car 17, Chassis TF104/03) First Session Classification: 16th, 12 laps completed Lap Time: 1m29.169s (+4.042s)

Second Session Classification: 18th, 16 laps completed Lap Time: 1m27.807s (+3.089s)

"I had a difficult first day in Australia today. We were unable to complete many laps and I am not yet happy with the set-up of the TF104 for the Albert Park track. We will sit down together this afternoon to work on it and find some improvements before tomorrow's two practice sessions."

Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF104/04) First Session Classification: 11th, 17 laps completed Lap Time: 1m28.118s (+2.991s)

Second Session Classification: 14th, 25 laps completed Lap Time: 1m.s (+2.447s)

"In the first session, the track was quite slippery and so I didn't push so much. The conditions improved as the session went on and I began to find the limits. In the second session, we did a back-to-back tyre comparison. We did a long run with the best set we found and the performance was quite consistent. We also found a good balance on the car, which should benefit the race drivers tomorrow. I am very pleased to be back driving during race weekends again and I hope my work today has helped."

Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis "Ricardo had a small electrical problem, which limited his running but he managed to do a comparison on the two types of tyre. Olivier and Cristiano sat out most of the first session and did just a few set-up runs. Ricardo carried out some valuable tyre comparisons and long runs in the second session and the tyre choice is quite clear for us now. Both race drivers had some little problems. Cristiano's session was stopped prematurely with a puncture and Olivier was held up by traffic on his runs with new tyres. Overall the session panned out pretty much as expected and we got some good data. Our job now is to concentrate on preparing for qualifying and the race."