DOWN UNDER STREET
The 2007 Formula One season began today for Panasonic Toyota Racing with a rain-affected day of practice for the Australian Grand Prix. This year Friday free practice has been extended to two 90-minute sessions so there was extra time for the drivers to get a feel for the TF107.
An early shower ensured a wet track for most of the morning's running around the streets of Melbourne's Albert Park. The conditions improved apart from intermittent drizzle in the afternoon but there was one lengthy interruption for a red flag. Race drivers Jarno Trulli and
Ralf Schumacher recorded the 12th and 16th fastest times respectively. The team will now analyse today's data in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race.
"It's good to be back racing again with a new year and a new challenge. There was not much grip out there in the morning but the afternoon session was trouble-free. So that was a positive day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We have had a hard winter of testing but as the weekend progresses we will build up a clearer picture of where we stand."
"The new rules for Friday practice are much better for the drivers and for the teams but especially for the spectators who can finally see the cars running, which is what matters most."
"It's always difficult to say where you stand on Friday but that was a decent afternoon of work. Other than the break for the red flag we didn't have any problems and we worked through our programme. The conditions were variable but that was not such a problem as a little drizzle doesn't affect the performance."
"The weather should now get better through the weekend but it will stay on our mind because we all know it can completely change within an hour in Melbourne. We've had a mixed winter of testing so this weekend will be useful to find out exactly where we have to target our work."
Dieter Gass - Chief Engineer Race and Test:
"With the weather conditions and the red flag this afternoon it was not an easy day's work. It was the same for everybody but it meant that we couldn't really make the most of the extended sessions. You have your tyre programme mapped out but today's conditions mixed everything up and meant you couldn't use all the available time."
"Still, we did running with both tyre specs, along with the wet tyres. Now we need to look at the data because the tyre behaviour is very important for race strategy this year since you have to use both tyre compounds. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow."
First Session: 22nd
9 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 44.130s (+14.916s)
Second Session 12th
33 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 28.921s (+1.568s)
First Session: 20th
9 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 39.550s (+10.336s)
Second Session: 16th
26 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 29.574s (+2.221s)