Panasonic Toyota Racing was back at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes Forest today to begin practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in positive fashion. The team tested at Spa for three days back in July to experience the revamped...
Panasonic Toyota Racing was back at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes Forest today to begin practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in positive fashion. The team tested at Spa for three days back in July to experience the revamped circuit and Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli continued where they left off with two 90-minute practice sessions today.
Practice started under clear skies but with relatively low air temperature of 17C, but grip levels gradually improved during the day and the drivers tried out different aerodynamic and mechanical set-ups while also sampling the soft and medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
Despite Spa's reputation for changeable weather, second practice also ran under clear skies and Jarno and Ralf completed a trouble-free session to finish an impressive 5th and 6th fastest respectively. After completing more than a race distance today, the team will now focus on further improving the car set-up in time for tomorrow's qualifying session.
"Today went quite well and I am pretty happy. We basically concentrated on set-up work and tyre performance. I think we are looking quite strong for this weekend, and it was good to set some competitive lap times this afternoon. I love this circuit. It is the best in the world so I am very motivated to get a good result here."
"It has everything a driver wants from a track, you are challenged everywhere and there is every different type of corner. I am pushing as hard as possible to score some points because we have been close in the last few races but always had problems. I always find myself in a good mood here at Spa so I hope for the rest of the weekend we can continue to do a good job."
"We went through all our planned programme and had no reliability issues, which is a positive thing. We already had a good idea of set-up from our test here earlier this year but of course the conditions were not exactly the same today. We expected to be reasonably strong here after our test earlier in the year and this seems to be the case, judging by today's lap times. I am relatively happy with the pace we showed."
"Qualifying has been very close in the last few races with only one or two 10ths making a big difference so we will work hard to optimise our car in time for qualifying. I am optimistic about our chances and hopefully we can fight for a strong result in qualifying and then the race."
Dieter Gass -- Chief Engineer Race and Test:
"It was a positive day for us. We ran through our programme of set-up and tyre work very smoothly, and our lap times were quite encouraging. From the test here in July we had a good base line set-up already so we just needed a bit more fine tuning to adapt to the conditions here and get the most out of our package, which we did with steady progress through the two sessions."
"We also got quite a good picture of how the soft and medium tyres behave. Both cars did a lot of miles today without any significant technical problems. As usual, it is only a Friday and people are running different programmes so we will have to wait and see. However, I hope we can keep the momentum going for the rest of the weekend."
First Session: 8th
19 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 48.994s (+1.655s)
Second Session: 5th
33 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 47.491s (+0.837s)
First Session: 12th
21 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 49.548s (+2.209s)
Second Session: 6th
32 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m 47.946s (+1.292s)