Panasonic Toyota Racing's preparations for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix began today with an interrupted Friday of practice around the Shanghai International Circuit. The skies around the track were overcast for practice and it began to drizzle halfway into the second session. That meant that Toyota had a limited day's work on the TF106B, which features a new aerodynamic package here in China.
After installation laps in the morning session, race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher brought their afternoon programmes forward and collected as much data as possible before the expected shower. Now the team will work hard overnight analysing everything to make the tyre choice for qualifying and the race.
"Given that we had very little time available for running before the rain arrived, that was a reasonable afternoon of practice. We obviously have less data than usual, but it's the same for everyone. Tomorrow morning will be busy but hopefully we can still chase a good result on Sunday. Monza was a disappointing weekend for us but apart from that we have shown consistent improvements throughout the season. We have some updates on the car here and if we can return to the level of performance we had in Turkey I am optimistic for the last three races."
"There's not much to say about today's session as I only had time to complete one long run. The track was quite dirty so we had a lot of graining, but that should improve as the weekend goes on. We still have a lot of work to do on set-up tomorrow morning but I remain pretty confident because our car has improved a lot over the course of the season. We will now aim to achieve our best results of the year over these last few races but we still have to see how competitive we can be here. If our pace is consistent then we can hope for a good race on Sunday."
Dieter Gass - Chief Engineer Race and Test:
"Our weather forecast had predicted rain for the afternoon session, so that is why we brought forward our usual programme and went out at the very start of the hour. As it turned out the track conditions were acceptable and despite the limited running time we collected some valuable information for the tyre choice. We know that this is one of the circuits with the highest grip evolution as the weekend goes on and you could already see the track getting quicker this morning."
"In the dirty conditions we saw a lot of graining on all the cars, but the track is not yet in optimum condition and that should reduce once the circuit rubbers in. We have a brand new aerodynamics package here in Shanghai, featuring a new front wing, a new engine cover and a new floor, so we will look to take advantage of that over the next two days."
First Session Classification: 21st, 2 laps completed
No lap time
Second Session Classification: 17th, 14 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m38.888s (+3.349s)
First Session Classification: 20th, 2 laps completed
No lap time
Second Session Classification: 18th, 11 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m38.959s (+3.420s)