The winter test programme has finally come to an end today for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. When the tests began back in November 2005, the new TF106 was introduced in Barcelona and with it came a serious of important test items. Comprising...
The winter test programme has finally come to an end today for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. When the tests began back in November 2005, the new TF106 was introduced in Barcelona and with it came a serious of important test items.
Comprising a new rear-end, modified front suspension, new specification RVX-06 engine and new Bridgestone tyres, the entire team faced a series of unknowns, but before the year came to a close, the results began to show promise.
When testing resumed in January at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez, it was clear that the main focus of testing until the race season would be on the Bridgestone tyres and the reliability of the new V8 engine.
Many tyre variations and compounds were tried and tested, even though the weather in the south of Europe did not always present race-simulation conditions. Nevertheless, the team pushed on and worked hard to collect important data while adding mileage to the engines.
Finally, in line with the Toyota Way policy of continuous improvement, the team introduced the latest developments from its 50%-scale Cologne-based wind tunnel: the new and highly anticipated aerodynamic package.
On Valentine's Day, the team tested at a cold and rainy Vallelunga circuit near Rome to gain results from the new aerodynamic elements for the first time outside of the wind tunnel. The cold weather did not drown out the team's good spirits and in the end, the expectations for the new car had been met.
Now the winter test season comes to a close and the teams will head to Bahrain to see who has done their homework over the last eight weeks. New engines, new qualifying format and tyre changes will definitely make this season more interesting, yet strategically challenging for each team.
Panasonic Toyota Racing will gear up and journey towards the desert kingdom having gained a lot of mileage and experience; when calculating a combined total of 4,635 laps from the two TF106s beginning with the first test on 29 November 2005 up to and including this test, this equates to 20,307km!
Without further ado, it's off to the races and Panasonic Toyota Racing is looking forward to an exciting and hard-fought season!
Ralf Schumacher put in his last day of testing, having focused on tyres and race set-ups.
"Today we worked on tyre balance set-ups and some race test items. After having pushed hard the whole day, we made it through all the test items so that we could end the day early. At the moment everything is running positively and as planned. We can be happy with the achievement that we have made until now. The car is performing well and we will see in Bahrain if we really are heading in the right direction."
"After all this testing in winter, I feel that we are ready and I am rather optimistic, but as I have said before it is difficult to see where we stand in comparison to everyone else. The car is consistent and reliable, I feel good driving it, and now I will head to Bahrain on Wednesday, where the season will finally get underway. Just like everyone else in Formula 1, our aim is to win races and I think we will have quite an interesting year in 2006. "
Jarno Trulli finished his second and last day of running, happy with the consistent progress over the winter.
"Today we continued to test some tyres to understand their behaviour. This was our final chance to make preparations for the first race, like testing slow safety car and formation laps. We feel that we are ready for the first race, but it is difficult to say how competitive we are. I can only say that the team has done a good job with the testing and the organisation was perfect."
"Although we had some bad weather over the last tests, we have achieved some consistent running. We aim to improve on last year's performance and to take a further step forward - we have to believe in this and live it. The team is always developing, fighting, and sharing the same feeling that we do our best and hope to win a race."
THAT'S A WRAP!
Panasonic Toyota Racing wraps up its pre-season testing.
Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager:
"During the whole winter as well as today, we have tried to test the reliability of the car, the aerodynamics, various set-ups and tyre compounds for the first races. Today we have done a lot of long runs, focusing on race preparations, such as qualifying laps and tyre behaviour."
"The drivers have been motivated throughout the whole programme and have proved very helpful in the development of the new cars. I think we can be happy with the progress and the stage that we have reached with the test programme. With every kilometre driven, we gained useful information and have a good understanding of the cars and their performance."
Best lap time: 1m12.067s
Total laps: 72
Total distance: 288km
Best lap time: 1m12.346s
Total laps: 107
Total distance: 428km