BOURNE TO RUN
Finally the wait is over. After five months when testing provided the only action for Formula 1 fans, the 2007 season is ready to roll and Panasonic Toyota Racing heads to Albert Park in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, the first of 17 races this year. Toyota is celebrating 50 years in motorsport in 2007 and both Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli are celebrating 10 years since they made their Formula 1 debuts in Melbourne.
The team is looking to begin this landmark year with a result to be proud of on the streets of Albert Park. Ralf and Jarno have had a busy winter testing programme with the new TF107 and two days of hard work in Jerez last week finally put the finishing touches to their preparations. After such a long break from racing, both drivers are eager to get their competitive juices flowing again. Ralf was on the podium in Melbourne 12 months ago and the team are motivated to score another positive result this time around.
"Melbourne is a great place to be, I really like the city and it is one of my favourites trips of the year. As well as the city, the track is one of the most beautiful streets circuits in the world and I really enjoy driving at Albert Park. Because it is a street circuit, the surface of the track tends to be dirty and that means it is quite low on grip, especially early in the weekend."
"We have done a lot of work in testing with the new car and I think we have made progress. My first impressions of the car were good and even though testing was difficult sometimes, I hope our car will suit the track and we will have a nice result this weekend."
"Melbourne is a great venue for a Grand Prix and the fans always make sure there is a unique atmosphere. Australia is a special place for me because I made my Grand Prix debut there in 1997. It is great to be going back there for the first race of the season. We have pushed hard over the winter with our testing programme. We had some issues to work on but I am looking forward to this weekend with confidence."
"A lot of work has been done on the new car and we expect it to be more competitive and more reliable. There are always big question marks as we prepare for the start of a new season because it is so hard to judge things from winter testing, but we have the motivation to succeed and I am optimistic."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis:
"The opening race of the season is always interesting as it is the first chance we have to see each teams' true performance. Traditionally at Albert Park we would expect understeer, low grip and tyre graining but we have seen in testing that the 2007 tyres do not tend to grain, so we start with more of a clean sheet when it comes to set-up."
"We have been through a learning process withour car and tyre package,andhave developed various different set-up options which we will use during the season. We have made good use of our winter testing and we are looking forward to the season with enthusiasm."