Toyota technical director (chassis) Mike Gascoyne looks ahead to the Spanish Grand Prix Q: What has the testing plan been since the last race in Imola? Mike Gascoyne: We had originally planned to test at Silverstone following the San ...
Toyota technical director (chassis) Mike Gascoyne looks ahead to the Spanish Grand Prix
Q: What has the testing plan been since the last race in Imola?
Mike Gascoyne: We had originally planned to test at Silverstone following the San Marino Grand Prix, but a rather unpredictable weather forecast led us to move to Jerez in southern Spain. With the thirty day testing agreement, we cannot risk wasting valuable running in the event of inclement weather, so we tend to play things as safe as possible in order to prepare ourselves fully for the next race.
In Jerez, work was split up between Ralf and Jarno who conducted one day each and Olivier who ran on both days. Our focus was primarily to work on the set-up of the TF105s for Barcelona and to finalise our Michelin tyre compound choice for the weekend.
Q: What are the technical characteristics of the Circuit de Catalunya?
MG: Barcelona is a circuit that is extremely well known to most teams through the extensive off-season testing that is carried out there, so it is fair to say that most teams arrive at the circuit with a good indication of set-up. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to hit the ground running in Friday free practice because it is difficult to make up lost time. It is a medium-high downforce track which demands a lot from every aspect of the car.
We have a long straight which is good for overtaking, as long as you can get a good exit from the final corner and follow the car in front closely enough. In addition, there is a nice mix of high and lower speed sections, which mean we have to find a good compromise of mechanical grip and top speed. Although the technical characteristics of the circuit have not changed much, there has been a notable difference in the data we have collected since the track was resurfaced over the winter.
Q: How has the resurfacing of the track affected the car's behaviour?
MG: I do not think that the car's behaviour has necessarily been changed due to the new track surface, but there has been quite a big variation in tyre degradation. Previously, tyre performance was an issue at Barcelona with quite a big initial drop-off, but we have seen at this season's Barcelona tests that tyres do not appear to degrade as quickly as in the past. We have nevertheless worked intensively with Michelin to select competitive tyres for this race and I think we will be in good shape.
Q: What new parts will you introduce on the TF105 for Spain?
MG: As part of our race-by-race updates, we are bringing some significant new aero bits to Barcelona, including upgrades to the sidepods and diffuser, in order to further improve the efficiency of our package. This, combined with the aero upgrades introduced in Imola, will result in another slight step forward in terms of our overall performance.
Q: What are your expectations for the Spanish GP weekend?
MG: Imola was always going to be one of the toughest races for Toyota. Ralf's 25-second penalty aside, we were competitive enough to get both cars in the points by the chequered flag, so I do not see any reason why we cannot fight for points at every event this season. Spain will be slightly better for us than Imola, so both cars in the top eight is my minimum expectation for this weekend.