Panasonic Toyota Racing gave a full testing debut to the new TF107 car at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia today to begin the team's testing programme for 2007 on a positive note. After Ralf Schumacher's shakedown of the TF107 earlier this month, today was the turn of Jarno Trulli and new third driver Franck Montagny to get their first taste of the car which Toyota expects to bring success this season.
Both drivers had to wait to sample the car's potential as light rain and cold morning temperatures restricted them to just one installation lap at the start of the session. An hour later, with track temperatures increasing slightly, Montagny left the pits for his first serious run in the new car, although he returned to the garage soon after as a result of a minor mechanical issue.
Trulli was able to run without trouble all morning and as the track dried out he switched from extreme wets to wet tyres before lunchtime, improving his lap times in the process. He upped the pace in the afternoon and consistently improved his lap times as the track dried out, although Montagny spun into the gravel midway through the afternoon. The car was not damaged but mechanics needed time to clean it in preparation for the Frenchman's last stint of the afternoon, which saw him take third fastest with Trulli sixth.
Jarno Trulli :
"It was a smooth day for my first time in the new car, we had no problems. Unfortunately the weather was not great today and that did not help us. We could not do much in terms of looking for a perfect set-up so it was difficult to say about balance of the car, it is still too early to judge but my first impressions were positive. We managed to put some good miles on the car which is very useful at the start of winter testing. Everything seemed to go pretty well so it was a promising start to our pre-season testing."
"It was not a full day for me but nobody did a lot of laps and that is normal at this stage in pre-season testing. It hasn't been too bad today, we did do some laps and we could check some things on the new car. The car has been quite good, it's hard to say how good it will be but we have made a good start and I feel more comfortable in this car than the TF106B. It is too early to say how competitive this car will be but I am pleased with my first day with the TF107. The team worked well and I am optimistic about the car so I am happy."
Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager:
"Every year it is the same with a new car test, we want to make sure all the systems are working as they should before we can push for performance. With rain and low temperatures early this morning we decided not to do many laps until the track temperature increased as we did not want to waste our tyres. The weather improved but on a drying track it is difficult to make comparisons during the day."
"However, we are pleased with Jarno's day as he was able to do quite a few laps with no trouble which allowed the team to begin work on understanding the best set-up of the car. Franck had a more difficult day as he had a long stop due to the changing of one of the test items. Both drivers were able to set competitive times and their first impressions of the new car were very positive. Now we will continue this work tomorrow."
Best Lap Time: 1min 13.672s
Total laps: 33
Total distance: 132km
Best Lap Time: 1min 13.735s
Total laps: 50
Total distance: 200km