Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Montreal with a single point courtesy of Ralf Schumacher following a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix that featured a total of four safety car periods. Ralf started in 18th place with a heavy fuel load. Following the...
Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Montreal with a single point courtesy of Ralf Schumacher following a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix that featured a total of four safety car periods. Ralf started in 18th place with a heavy fuel load. Following the first two interruptions for the safety car he was the last driver to pit on lap 39 by which time he was running as high as 3rd. By the time the race order settled down he took the flag in 8th. Jarno Trulli lined up 10th on the grid and kept that position for much of the first stint. Then he was hit from behind by Robert Kubica's BMW, an incident that led to a severe impact and led to one of the safety car periods. Jarno suffered some damage to his right rear tyre and he was forced to pit. He came in again after just one lap on the option tyre. During the rest of the interrupted race he ran as high as 6th but he spun out on lap 58, just after his last scheduled pit stop. The Toyota team will now travel to Indianapolis for next week's US Grand Prix. The team also bids farewell to Tsutomu Tomita who attended his last race as Team Principal today before he takes over as Chairman of the Fuji Speedway.
"That was another difficult weekend for me but of course it is nice to get a point after starting from 18th position. I'm sure no one expected that but it was a chaotic race. Today given our grid position we fuelled up the cars heavily for the first stint. The car was not too bad and we were able to make up ground but we were short of straight line speed so it made it hard to overtake into the chicane. Towards the end I was overtaken by Sato who was on the prime tyre when I was on the options. That was clearly the worse tyre today but the rules mean we have to run on it. We obviously have a lot of work ahead of us but at least we got a point today."
"That was a very difficult race for me. The start was reasonable but I was short of grip and I could not keep up with the pace, especially towards the end of the stint. After we pitted for new tyres during the first safety car period Robert Kubica hit me from behind and crashed. I had not moved from my line but when I saw the car roll over I was very concerned. When you see another colleague have such a big crash and you are hit from the back it's not a nice feeling. At that stage a lot of things were going on in my mind but I have since heard that he's fine so I hope that he will get back soon. I had a flat tyre so I had to pit again but then I wasn't exactly sure where I was in the race. Eventually when I pitted for the last time I was caught by surprise and when I came back out in last place I pushed too hard to catch the field and went into the wall. But after a day like this the race doesn't matter."
Tsutomu Tomita -- Team Principal
"That was easily the wildest grand prix of the year and crashes and safety cars dominated the racing action. We used our safety car strategies but we ended up with very different stories for our two cars. Considering he started from 18th on the grid Ralf did a very good job. He was fuelled very heavy but he saved the tyres for the first part of the race. He was able to make up a lot of ground with the safety cars, although the last one cost us some places. Like others, he was on the option tyre at the end of the race and struggled for pace. Jarno had some difficulties with grip during his first stint and then he had a flat tyre after the incident with Kubica. In the end things didn't work out for him. Clearly we have not had the best performance this weekend and we have work to do. But we managed the suspension problem we had on Friday and I'm happy that we had no mechanical issues today. The point is a good leaving present for me and I wish the team all the best and good luck for the future. See you at the Fuji Speedway."