Set-up problems have hampered the opening day of action for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team in Imola today, with Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta in 12th and 18th positions respectively after the first qualifying session. After a discouraging free practice hour this morning, extensive set-up changes between sessions improved the handling of Panis's TF103, but a driver error in the first sector of his flying lap left Da Matta back down in 18th.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Session Classification: 12th
Lap Time: 1m22.765s, +2.137s from pole
Starting position: 20th
"When I compare the result we have in qualifying to the free practice session, I think we have made some good progress. This morning, the car was very difficult over the kerbs and we did not have enough grip. I think the reaction of the team to change the set-up was good and I am quite happy with 12th today. I know it is not good enough, but I think we are heading in a good direction for tomorrow. We took some risks for the set-up changes between practice and qualifying sessions and I think it paid off."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/02
Session Classification: 18th
Lap Time: 1m24.854s, +4.226s from pole
Starting Position: 15th
"I made a big mistake in the first sector, which ruined my whole lap. We still need to find some more speed in the other sectors too with some modifications to the car's set-up necessary. It is a slow beginning to the weekend for us, so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. We have ninety minutes of free practice tomorrow in which to improve the car's handling. I like this circuit a lot, but I feel we have a better potential in the car than we showed today."
Gustav Brunner - Chief Designer
"Of course after this morning's result, we made some set-up adjustments to the TF103s. The changes were more radical on Panis's car to combat the handling difficulties from practice, but the overall result is still not great to be honest. We will carry on with our set-up work tomorrow morning, adapting Cristiano's car to reflect the major changes we made to Olivier's car and I hope we will make some more steps ahead."
Weather: Dry and sunny
Temperatures: Air 20-21, Track 29-33, Average humidity 30%
T-Car: TF103/01 set up for Olivier Panis
Free Practice Review: Panis was not happy with the opening session this morning after a problem with the brakes limited running. Cristiano da Matta worked on Michelin tyre evaluation and car set-up. The Panasonic Toyota Racing duo lined up 16th (Da Matta) and 17th (Panis) in the classification (1m24.117s and 1m24.565s respectively).