Toyota previews US GP
Following Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, the Formula 1 teams are currently flying south for the second part of the North American double-header. Indianapolis, the historic heart of American racing, has been the home of the US Grand Prix since 2000.
The modern day F1 circuit uses part of the famous banked oval before veering off onto a twisty infield section. Last year's grand prix was a disappointment to the race fans after worries about tyre safety resulted in most of the field completing only the formation lap. That means the teams will be itching to make up for that this weekend and show the American race-watching public a real grand prix. After Jarno Trulli's points for Panasonic Toyota Racing in Canada, he and team mate Ralf Schumacher will be pushing hard to record another strong result on Sunday.
Ralf Schumacher "Of course I have mixed memories of Indianapolis, not least from last year. It was a tough decision for the teams not to race and it was particularly hard on the fans who had travelled to see the event. But it was the right decision because it was clearly unsafe to race and the safety of the drivers has to come first. It's in the nature of a racing driver to want to race but I hope the fans will understand that it was just impossible last year. Now we just have to hope that we have a trouble-free race this time so that the American public can look forward to seeing Formula 1 as it really is. The organisers have done a good job with the circuit at the Speedway and the challenge is to set up the car for good speed along the oval section while retaining stability through the twisty infield. The atmosphere is usually great at Indianapolis and I hope it will be similar again this year."
Jarno Trulli "Last year's US Grand Prix was an unfortunate weekend, and I was most sorry for the spectators who had come to the event. But we had no choice on race day because the risk to the drivers was too big. Of course it was hard to step out of the car but even though I was on pole, I would not have wanted to race under those conditions. Now we will just hope for a better weekend for everyone concerned this time. Indianapolis is a special venue and I enjoy the atmosphere both at the circuit and in the town because the people are so friendly. It has not been a very lucky season so far for me but we have definitely improved our performance as the season has gone on and the points in Canada were very welcome. I'm really looking forward to finishing the year well and I think I've earned the right to a change of fortune. But most of all, I just hope we can put on a good show in Indianapolis for the fans and try to erase the memories of last year."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis "The incredible story of last year's US Grand Prix shows just what a unique track Indianapolis is. The circuit has conflicting demands that lead to impossible compromises for both aerodynamics and tyres. You would like to run a Monza low downforce configuration for the banking, which features well over 20 seconds of full throttle. Then as soon as you enter the infield you would like to be in Monaco high downforce configuration. As for tyres, you need grip on the slow infield section but you cannot go too soft because there is a very high wear rate at the rear due to the rough asphalt on the banking. Last year's situation occurred because of Indy-specific tyre loading and track conditions which were difficult to simulate on a test rig. Both tyre companies will have learned lessons for 2006 and we hope for a much happier event this time. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a purpose-built venue the likes of which we don't have in Europe and a wonderful venue for watching racing."