Toyota – Spanish GP – Preview

Fri, 12 May 2006, 02:34

Panasonic Toyota Racing will make its next stop at the Spanish Grand Prix, which is being held at the Circuit de Catalunya for the 16th time. The team will work hard towards repeating last year’s race results, where Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher took 3rd and 4th place respectively. The circuit has built additional grandstands this year, and this is likely to attract record crowds. The Spanish Grand Prix is always known to be an exciting race, as the Circuit de Catalunya is a favoured testing venue. Because all teams and drivers know the track very well, it is likely to be a tight race. Panasonic Toyota Racing will also profit from its past experience with the track having already made three stops for testing this year and putting in little over 6,000 cumulated kilometres.

After having to retire just before end of the race at the Nürburgring, Ralf Schumacher is motivated to get back into action in Barcelona.

Ralf Schumacher (Car 7):

“We have been doing quite well during testing in Barcelona. We are in the upper middle field, better in the race than in qualifying – at least in my case – and so I’m quite happy about that. We showed that we could have a strong race performance at the Nürburgring, it was just unfortunate for the whole team that we had an engine failure. I am confident however that after analyzing the data we will find the right solution for the coming races. Although I have tested there many times, the Circuit de Catalunya is always a bit tricky due to the wind, which makes it hard to find the right aerodynamic set-up. Tyre choice is also another difficult matter, but I am sure we will be able to fall back on our testing data here from the last tests. Overall, we are certainly on the right track, a little patience is needed but when the time comes, we will pick up some points and defend our last year’s championship position.”

Jarno Trulli has achieved two podiums in his career to date at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2004 (3rd place) and 2005 (3rd place). This year he will be looking to turn this into a hat trick by achieving another podium position.

Jarno Trulli (Car 8):

“The Circuit de Catalunya is a track I know very well, just like most of the other drivers in the field. Because the track is quite demanding with four high-speed corners and few chances for overtaking, we will have to concentrate on having good aerodynamic performance. There is a long main straight but it is a fast corner coming onto it and it is quite difficult to stay close to the car in front. The overtaking situation is a little bit better since they have changed the layout of Turn 10. It all means that a lot of the lap is spent in corners and so the car’s balance has to be absolutely right. Reliability and tyre wear are also two factors that are always important, especially because all the teams that go there know their set-ups already. I have had some good races here including the two podiums I have achieved the last two years and I am definitely looking to repeat this again this year.”

Familiarity of the track can be an advantage for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team; however it will still be challenging to find the right set-up and strategy.

Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis

“The right use of previous test data is always a key and critical item within Barcelona preparation. There is usually a large change of track conditions between the last test and race event, when temperatures start to heat up. We have especially learned from the past how to handle the tyre choice and take into account the expected track evolution. It leads to two tyre specifications which are more similar than on other tracks where no test data are available. Otherwise, brakes play little role in Barcelona, which is mainly about aerodynamic efficiency of the package and we will be looking to have the best package taking all elements into consideration.”

Miguel Coelho

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