Comments from the Toyota drivers and team ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix Cristiano da Matta - Car No. 16 "We have had two reasonably productive test sessions since Bahrain, at which we have been working hard to get the most out of our ...
Comments from the Toyota drivers and team ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix
Cristiano da Matta - Car No. 16
"We have had two reasonably productive test sessions since Bahrain, at which we have been working hard to get the most out of our revised package for the San Marino Grand Prix. We ran some new aero parts at Barcelona, but what we are counting on is that a number of small modifications will work well together to give us another step forward."
"Imola has never been a track that suits our car, particularly with the kerbs, but we did some valuable running at Paul Ricard last week, learning how to adapt the car better to different situations and conditions, so I remain hopeful that our upward curve will continue in Italy this weekend. We are not where we want to be at the moment, but we are working on a race-by-race basis to rectify that and gradually move up the grid."
Olivier Panis - Car No. 17
"Our aim for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix must be to build upon our performance from Bahrain, where we were again unlucky to miss out on championship points. Performance-wise, we have struggled at Imola in the past, but everyone has put in a lot of effort to improve the car since the last race, so we simply have to try and make the most out of the package we have."
"The positive thing is that everybody is now working very well together as a team. Stability is critical, so together we must keep pushing. From a personal point of view, I have never really enjoyed going to Imola because of the tragic weekend in 1994. This year's event is the 10th anniversary of the accidents of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna, so I'm sure their memory will be especially strong this weekend."
Ricardo Zonta - Third Driver
"We recently completed some tyre tests for the San Marino Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, so I am sure we have chosen good tyres for this weekend's race. I also did two days at Estoril last week, where we simulated wet weather running together with Michelin. We totalled over 250 laps, easily completing the programme and that could be advantageous for us in Imola, where we are likely to face damp or wet conditions. Obviously there are many pieces to the puzzle, so we have to make sure everything works together. We've come so close to getting points in the last two races, so we just need a bit more luck and I'm sure they are within our reach."
Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal
"Historically, the Imola track has not been favourable to Panasonic Toyota Racing, but we are hoping for a better result this season. We have worked a lot on the TF104 since the first race in Melbourne to improve the aerodynamics, to reduce the overall weight of the chassis and to lower the centre of gravity. Consequently, I hope that the car should be more driveable, particularly over the notoriously difficult Imola kerbs, where we have struggled in the past."
"I am not going to set any concrete targets for this weekend's race because we have to look at improvements on a longer term scale. Instead, I simply expect us to make the next logical step ahead in our 2004 development and to show another increase on performance, as we demonstrated at the first three races of the season."
Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis
"The San Marino Grand Prix will mark the next development step of the season for Panasonic Toyota Racing. We have concentrated mainly on reducing the weight of the car, whilst lowering the centre of gravity. As a result, we are heading to Italy with a car that should be easier to set-up and more adaptable during the weekend. We also have a new front and rear wing, specifically designed to cope with the demands of the maximum downforce Imola track."
"The key to a quick lap time around Imola is use of the kerbs. This has been a weakness in the past, so we have carried out kerb simulations at Paul Ricard tests, which we hope will pay dividends. Everyone knows what we have to do to make the car go quicker and the changes we have implemented for this weekend should be another small step in the right direction."