Comments from the Toyota team ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix Cristiano da Matta - Race Driver, Car 16 "My ninth place at the Malaysian Grand Prix and the team's second two-car finish of the season showed that we have the capability of scoring...
Comments from the Toyota team ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix
Cristiano da Matta - Race Driver, Car 16
"My ninth place at the Malaysian Grand Prix and the team's second two-car finish of the season showed that we have the capability of scoring points even at this early stage of the season. As a new track, Bahrain will offer a totally new set of hurdles for us all to overcome, but I will rely on my intensive experience from last season to make progress as quickly as possible."
"The fact that most of the circuits on the calendar were new to me in 2003 could offer me a slight advantage this weekend. Last year, I became quite adept at making up ground to my rivals, but this weekend we are all on the same level. The Bahrain Grand Prix is very important to Formula 1 for many reasons, so I am optimistic it will be an enjoyable race weekend."
Olivier Panis - Race Driver, Car 17
"From a personal point of view, I think it is very refreshing to have new circuits on the F1 calendar, not only for the racing, but also to be given the opportunity to discover a new country, a different culture and new people. I have not been to the track in Bahrain, although I have been studying the layout and I am really looking forward to the grand prix. Like all drivers, we will only see the track for the first time when we walk around it on Thursday, and I am sure it will provide a real challenge."
"The last time I drove a completely new track to me was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway back in 2001 and I feel that I can adapt quickly to new situations and conditions, something I aim to do this weekend as we look to make another step forward. I think our overall performance in Malaysia showed that we are working in the right direction and we will certainly continue to do so."
Ricardo Zonta - Third Driver, Car 38
"After the first two races, it has become quite clear that my role in Friday practice is critical in tyre selection for the weekend, as well as on the set-up of the car. This weekend in Bahrain, I think we will benefit even more from having the possibility to run three cars on Friday. As a new circuit, the more data we can collect on the opening day, the better our chances will be of securing a good result on Sunday afternoon."
"The TF104 chassis and RVX-04 engine have been 100% reliable in the opening races of the year, and this reliability should also be an advantage this weekend. The outcome is difficult to predict, but if we can get the cars to the chequered flag again, we could be in with a chance of scoring our first points of the year."
Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal
"For the first time in Toyota's short history in Formula 1, we are entering a grand prix weekend on the same playing field as every other team. In terms of our performance, I am pleased with the progress we made between Australia and Malaysia to improve our overall package, and I think that we can expect another respectable showing in Bahrain this weekend. Having said that, we are also focussed on the long-term and are already working to rectify the problems we have encountered so far this year. There are still 16 races to go and I can guarantee that Toyota's sights are set much further up the grid."
Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis
"Bahrain is completely unknown territory for everyone, so it promises to be an exciting new race on the F1 calendar. It is the first completely new track in Formula 1 since the debut race in Malaysia back in 1999, so the race results will be dictated as much by how quickly teams and drivers can learn the circuit, as it will be determined by competitiveness. On paper, the Bahrain track looks as technically challenging as Malaysia, so we are aiming to maintain our momentum and get both cars to the finish line for the third race in a row. We were just a few seconds from a championship point in Sepang, so there is no reason that we should not expect a point or two if we can bring both cars home on Sunday."