Panasonic Toyota Racing today completed its week of testing at the Autodromo di Vallelunga, just north of Rome, Italy.
The main aim of the week’s work was to take a first look at the brand new aerodynamic package with which the team will start the season. Unfortunately the weather didn’t quite match up to hopes and both rain and low temperatures interrupted the programme on two of the days.
Still, Jarno Trulli was able to have his first runs with the new package before the weather changed. Ralf Schumacher is now scheduled to do so next week in Barcelona. Both drivers were running on an amended Vallelunga layout, with a chicane added at the end of the start-finish straight. Jarno is scheduled to return tomorrow for a wet weather test.
Jarno Trulli was positive after becoming the first driver to try the TF106’s new aerodynamic package, putting in over 100 laps around the twisty Vallelunga circuit.
“It was a pity that so much of this week was cold and wet, but we still put in the best part of two days of testing with the new aero package before the weather set in. My first impressions are really positive. The car felt good and it shows promise, enabling us to carry out a tyre test on the second day. Next week we will go to Barcelona, which will be a better guide to this car’s true potential. There we will be able to compare our performance with other teams so we will start to find out where we really stand. So far so good.”
Ralf Schumacher was also making his first visit to the Vallelunga circuit, situated just north of the Italian capital.
“This was our first test at Vallelunga and generally it’s a nice track and facility. The circuit is similar to Valencia and I think that it would be worth having some tests here during the summertime. Unfortunately the weather has been very cold this week and as a result I have not had a chance to test with the new aerodynamic package yet. We only started work on it two days ago and Jarno has been at the wheel. But the first reports are positive and the expected targets have been reached. Now we hope to have a final evaluation of the package in the next couple of weeks. Although the low temperature played against us because it has made it difficult to get heat into all the tyres, we still managed some successful running in the rain.”
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director Chassis
“This is our first time testing here at Vallelunga and it was reasonably productive. Other teams have tested here in the past, but we were the only team running with a chicane in the first corner so you can’t make comparisons. With both drivers having to first of all get to know the circuit and then experiencing rather cold temperatures, it has been fairly difficult conditions for meaningful running. But from the work we’ve been able to do, it’s clear that the new package is working very reliably and we can see the performance gain that we expected. In parallel with running the new car, we have also continued running tyre evaluations for Bridgestone. Although our mileage has been limited due to the track conditions, we’ve actually managed to do most of the test items that were planned for the two days. Overall, the test has been positive and it was good to get the final Bahrain configuration up and running.”