After its disappointing performance last week in Bahrain, Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its quest for improvement during free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. On a hot but cloudy day at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur, Ralf ...
After its disappointing performance last week in Bahrain, Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its quest for improvement during free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. On a hot but cloudy day at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli put in their first laps of what promises to be a challenging weekend.
Both drivers put in more laps than usual for a Friday as Toyota seeks to learn how to make the most of its new package. Ralf and Jarno completed their programmes of tyre comparison and set-up work and will now look to continue the learning process over the rest of the weekend.
Jarno Trulli worked hard to gain information to help Toyota progress from last week's performance.
"We spent the two sessions trying to collect more data on our new package. Our grip level is not yet there and although we look slightly more competitive than in Bahrain we still have work to do. Our challenge is to get the car and tyres working together. For that we need to carry out a detailed analysis, but of course there has been no chance to test since Bahrain so we will have to continue that work this weekend."
"I am sure we have not seen the true potential of our car yet. We understand the problem but the solution is not straightforward. We are obviously looking to have a better race than we had in Bahrain but the important thing for us is to spend these early race weekends getting to the root of the problem."
GETTING A GRIP
After the difficulties of Bahrain, Ralf Schumacher was happier with his TF106 around the Sepang circuit.
"Today we completed more running than usual because we are still trying to find out how to make the most of our package. We've been struggling for grip and the Bahrain weekend showed us we still have a way to go. But today the car felt much better and the grip level has increased quite a lot. The traction and the tyres seem to be working better with this track surface and the heat."
"I was caught in traffic on my last run so we could have further improved our time. Our aim this weekend has to be to collect information for future races but we have already collected some useful data. So that's an encouraging start."
THE DATA DAY
It was a hard day of preparation for Panasonic Toyota Racing in preparation for Sunday's Malaysian GP.
Dieter Gass - Chief Engineer Race and Test:
"Today we made a step forward from what we saw in Bahrain. We've done a lot of work on the tyre and the set-up and we've collected some good information, especially from the tyres. For tomorrow we will try to improve the set-up of the cars. We did more running than we normally do because we saved some mileage last weekend which we can use here to get the maximum information possible."
"Given all that, we have plenty of information with which to make the tyre choice. It's still a bit early to say how much the conditions here will affect our performance. But given that we have struggled to get temperature into the tyres the higher track temperature should help us."
Car 8, Chassis TF106/04
First Session Classification: 12th, 8 laps completed
Lap time: 1m38.837s (+3.891s)
Second Session Classification: 11th, 23 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m37.317s (+2.276s)
Car 7, Chassis TF106/05
First Session Classification: 9th, 9 laps completed
Lap time: 1m37.826s (+2.880s)
Second Session Classification: 17th, 20 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m37.695s (+2.654s)