Panasonic Toyota Racing got its 2009 testing programme underway today at a new venue for the team; the Algarve Motor Park in Portugal. Kamui Kobayashi was at the wheel for the first pre-season tests of the TF109, which was unveiled for the first time on www.tf109-premiere.com last week.
After conducting a successful and trouble-free roll-out of the TF109 yesterday, Kamui continued to work on the team's kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), which is being used on track for the first time this week, as well as performing systems checks and gathering information about the new car. Unfortunately, wind and rain, particularly in the afternoon, disrupted the programme. Jarno Trulli takes over from Kamui tomorrow.
Kamui Kobayashi - Chassis TF109-02
Best Lap Time: 1min 50.989s
Total laps: 46
"Today has gone well and I am happy with the new car. It has been an interesting experience to drive with KERS for the first time and we are understanding more about the system all the time. This is my first time driving at this track and I have to say I am very impressed; the lay-out is really exciting and quite challenging for a driver. The weather was far from ideal, especially in the afternoon, so that meant we could not spend as much time on track as we planned."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "It is always a very exciting moment to see your new car begin pre-season testing and that is especially true this year after such a significant regulation change. Overall I am very pleased with the initial results from the TF109 and I believe we have good reason for optimism. Of course, it is very difficult to make comparisons to the other teams in the winter, and that is particularly true when the weather is not very good. In addition to the usual challenges of testing a new car, we worked with the KERS system again today. This is a new technology to Formula 1 so there is a huge amount to learn but our hard work in the factory meant we were quite well prepared for this first test and we have collected a lot of important information."