Panasonic Toyota Racing heads to the most glamorous weekend of the season determined to return to points-scoring form in the Monaco Grand Prix after its disappointing weekend in Spain. The team's 100% reliability record in 2007 ended with retirement for Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli in Barcelona but some encouragement came from with Jarno's impressive qualifying display.
The tight Principality streets are a unique challenge on the Formula 1 calendar and Toyota will use a Monaco-specific aerodynamic package this weekend, including revised front and rear wings. Monaco holds happy memories for both our drivers, with Ralf claiming pole position in 2003 and Jarno taking pole position and his maiden victory a year later. The team expects a return to form at Monaco and hopes to add to its tally of five points so far in 2007.
Spain was a disappointing weekend for me so obviously I am going to Monaco looking for a big improvement. Our car has improved, even if that was not clear from my results in qualifying or the race, but we still have work to do and we will be pushing hard for a better result in Monaco. It is always a great challenge to race at Monaco with the narrow streets and barriers so close."
"It's a tough race physically and mentally because you cannot afford even the smallest mistake. Overtaking is nearly impossible so qualifying will be very important. I have good memories of taking pole position in Monaco in the past so our first goal will be to qualify as high as possible to give me the best chance of a strong result. My aim for the weekend has to be to score points again and I am optimistic we have a good chance."
"I am really looking forward to Monaco because it is one of the best race weekends of the year and I have always performed well there. Of course, my victory from pole position in Monaco in 2004 is one of my happiest memories in Formula 1 but I have had many other good performances there as well. I am optimistic we can score a strong result this weekend and put what happened in Spain behind us."
"It was such a pity about the technical problem in Barcelona because I am certain I could have had a really good result. We were strong in qualifying and it was particularly encouraging to see we had the same fuel strategy as the leading cars, so performance-wise we have made a step forward. If we can get back to the reliability we showed at the start of the season, Monaco should be a positive weekend for us."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis:
"I am looking forward to Monaco because for me it is the highlight of the season. It is truly something different and it's a great place to be. We will have a special aerodynamic package on the car because the requirements of Monaco are so special. Principally, that means there will be changes to the front and rear wings. The factors that determine performance in Monaco are completely different to all other races."
"Engine power and aerodynamics are slightly less important in Monaco than elsewhere so you are left with tyres and drivers as the key factors. In Spain the new aero package worked well, it gave us two or three extra 10ths as expected. We were not able to demonstrate this clearly in the race but Jarno's lap in qualifying showed we have made an improvement, especially when you consider we had a similar fuel strategy to the front cars. In Monaco we have to show this in the race and get back into the points."