Toyota's Olivier Panis looks back over the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend "The Grand Prix of Malaysia was a weekend of mixed fortunes for me, although I believe that as a team, Panasonic Toyota Racing demonstrated a much improved performance level...
Toyota's Olivier Panis looks back over the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend
"The Grand Prix of Malaysia was a weekend of mixed fortunes for me, although I believe that as a team, Panasonic Toyota Racing demonstrated a much improved performance level compared to the first race of the season in Melbourne."
"We struggled in Australia with a general lack of grip, which prevented Cristiano and me from getting the most out of the TF104, but the whole team worked really hard to make improvements to the car. I have been in Formula 1 for ten years, so you have to believe me when I say that to make such aerodynamic developments to the car during two overseas races is a real achievement."
"From the first practice sessions on Friday in Sepang, I could feel a big difference in the grip levels. This was a direct result of the new aero parts - a new front wing and turning vanes - but also assisted by the hot temperatures in Sepang, which suited the tyres supplied by our technical partner Michelin. Friday definitely felt like a different world compared to Melbourne and I was highly optimistic entering the rest of the weekend."
"Qualifying was unfortunately disappointing. After two free practice sessions during Saturday morning, the car's balance and handling were very good and we were looking in promising shape for the qualifying session. I was not pleased with my first lap, so we made some adjustments to the car for the important grid-determining lap, but the behaviour of the car was very oversteery, which made it impossible to post a decent time. Naturally, I was not pleased to line up 14th on the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but Cristiano did a fantastic job to set the tenth fastest time."
"The race was also an eventful one. From 14th, I made a very good start to get up to tenth or eleventh place by the first corner, but there was a lot of traffic congestion on the opening lap and I think somebody hit me from behind because I spun. This put me again at the back of the field, but we worked very hard to regain the positions we lost, using a clever pit stop strategy to get past cars in front of us."
"With 12 laps to go, I was running in a strong tenth position, but a radio communication problem brought me unnecessarily into the pits, which effectively ended my race. As I was driving through the pits I exceeded the 100kmh pit lane speed limit, so I was given a drive-through penalty as well. Needless to say, I was not happy."
"Cristiano's ninth place showed that we had the potential to pick up a championship point, so it was a real pity that we could not take full advantage of the situation. Nevertheless, the jump in competitiveness we made between Australia and Malaysia was impressive and I am now looking forward to Bahrain. I have not been to the track before, but on paper it looks technically demanding. I always relish the new challenges that new tracks offer and I will do all I can to get a positive result in Bahrain."
"We still have sixteen races left of the season and everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing is fully committed to getting us to the front end of the grid. We know in which areas we have to improve and with Mike Gascoyne (Technical Director Chassis), I am very confident we will get there soon."