Toyota's Allan McNish looks back at the European Grand Prix. "Overall, I think you'd have to say that the European Grand Prix was disappointing because qualifying went quite well for Panasonic Toyota Racing and I think we actually started the...
Toyota's Allan McNish looks back at the European Grand Prix.
"Overall, I think you'd have to say that the European Grand Prix was disappointing because qualifying went quite well for Panasonic Toyota Racing and I think we actually started the race with a fair degree of optimism."
"Mika qualified 10th and I was 13th which, after Monte Carlo, was our best combined qualifying performance of the season. We found that we actually had quite a bit of grip and stability in the car and the new track was quite interesting to drive."
"They have changed the first corner at Nürburgring and added about 600 metres to the lap with the new series of slow corner called the Mercedes Arena. The track actually falls away quite steeply downhill, which is why I wanted to change the seat after Friday. I wanted to be a little higher up in the car to improve the peripheral vision a little, but I think the padding was a little bit different and that came back and bit me in the race."
"I think the idea behind the track changes is to increase overtaking but you had to be careful into Turn 1. It was quite bumpy on the line, and very slippery on the inside. But it certainly made sure that the first lap was going to be interesting starting right in the middle of the pack probably wasn't the best place to be!"
"Mika and I sometimes have different ideas on which way to go and one of the issues we had to consider for the race was tyre wear. I'd had some oversteer in qualifying and was mindful about wearing the tyres and so I went for a two-stop strategy."
"Things started well and I made a couple of places up to 11th but with an aggressive strategy you have to be able to take advantage of it and things didn't quite go in my favour. At the first pit stop we had a problem with the left front wheel and I lost about six seconds. Then, when the leaders started to lap us, you had to let them by. Going off line interrupts your rhythm loses you a couple of seconds each time. Michael Schumacher, for instance, lapped me just before he spun, then I had to let him by again."
"It was a strange race in many way. At the end, Frentzen, Bernoldi and Villeneuve, for instance, just disappeared off into the distance. And Panis, who I passed in the first stint and left behind quite comfortably, was quicker than I expected later on."
"I was also in trouble with the new seat, which was pinching a nerve in my shoulder. I was gradually losing all feeling in my left arm and it was a big struggle in right-handers. I was effectively driving one-handed - not what you want in a Grand Prix car! At the end, it was a struggle to climb out with just one working arm. Fourteenth was not what I was hoping for but by the end I just wanted to get the car to the finish considering my handicap and the fact that we hadn't completed the last couple of races."
"I spent about an hour with the team doctor giving me some painkillers, ultrasound treatment and trying to massage some feeling back into my arm."
"Off the track it was quite a busy weekend in what was effectively a 'home' race for us. I flew in on the Wednesday and went to the Toyota factory in Cologne. Many people were new since the start of the year and I was actually meeting them for the first time. It was nice to be able to put names to faces."
"Then on the Saturday night we went from the circuit to Cologne to meet a number of Toyota dealers who were at the race. I think everybody had a good time and enjoyed being able to see the fruits of all our labours just a few miles down the road from the factory."
"I'm due to test at Paul Ricard on Thursday/Friday of this week, then Silverstone is next and, without wanting to tempt fate, I'm really looking forward to my own home grand prix. The car has gone pretty well in testing there and if there's one place I should know my way around, that's it!"