The European Grand Prix at the NÃ¼rburgring is the closest that the Formula 1 event comes to the gates of Toyota Motorsport's factory. The German circuit is a short drive from the team's Cologne base and that always guarantees a full turn-out of...
The European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring is the closest that the Formula 1 event comes to the gates of Toyota Motorsport's factory. The German circuit is a short drive from the team's Cologne base and that always guarantees a full turn-out of Panasonic Toyota Racing fans and employees in the grandstands.
The entire workforce from the factory receives an invitation to the event and it always means there is a special atmosphere for the whole team. Nonetheless the race team will be as focused as ever as it seeks to add to its points total from 2006.
The Nürburgring is close to the TMG factory and to Kerpen, where Ralf Schumacher grew up.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7):
"We struggled on race day in Imola but our pace shows that we've made big steps forward since the start of the season. We initially struggled because our car concept made it difficult to get grip out of hard compounds in low temperatures. But we have worked hard on our set-up and we reaped the benefits for our podium in Melbourne. Now we hope to regain that good form with another good result at our home race."
"I've always really enjoyed racing at the Nürburgring, which is always greatly affected by the weather. I won my first Formula Junior race at the track and I won the grand prix there in 2003. It will be great to have some of the people from the factory there. That support will be really appreciated so let's hope we can give them a result to cheer."
Jarno Trulli will seek better luck at the Nürburgring, where he took his first podium in 1999.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8):
"I've had nothing but bad luck in the races so far this year so it's time for a change. Now that we have resolved our set-up problems we can concentrate on pushing the team forwards. At the Nürburgring the weather will be a crucial factor and I am glad to know the circuit well from my time in German F3."
"That experience helps to predict what the weather could do and to plan strategy, as it did when I finished second in a rain-affected race there in 1999. It would of course be great to challenge that high again. Our pace has been improving in recent races so we will push hard to try and maintain that momentum. I know that the package is good and it would be especially satisfying to perform well in front of the massed ranks of Toyota employees and fans."
WEATHER OR NOT
The European Grand Prix will hinge on what the skies bring to the region for race weekend.
Pascal Vasselon - General Manager Car Design and Development:
"Unlike its predecessor the Nordschleife, the current Nürburgring is an average track for Formula 1. It ranks in the mid-range for most of the important items like downforce levels, braking energy and tyres. But what will be especially challenging this year is the weather. It's still early in the year and in May anything could happen in that part of the world - sun, rain or possibly even snow! You can wake up and the temperature could be anything between 0 and 35 degrees."
"So we have to anticipate that and we have to make sure we cover any eventuality, especially when it comes to tyres. We spent last week testing at Paul Ricard working on some new parts and especially tyre choice and that leaves us confident that we will be able to react to any conditions that we can face."