Panasonic Toyota Racing is on home ground this weekend for the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, which is located only around an hour’s drive away from the Japanese team’s factory in Cologne, Germany.
The team is determined to reward its home fans with more points after another promising, but ultimately frustrating, race weekend at Silverstone. Ralf Schumacher showed the potential of the TF107 by qualifying a season-best sixth but neither he nor team-mate Jarno Trulli finished the race. After the high-speed corners of Magny-Cours and Silverstone, the Nürburgring represents a return to medium downforce specification. As with most races this season, the team brings an upgraded car to the Nürburgring, with small aerodynamic improvements since the British Grand Prix. Jarno celebrated his 33rd birthday on 13 July with a visit to the factory to give his technical input prior to this weekend’s race, when the team aims to return to the points.
Ralf Schumacher “The Nürburgring is not only the home track for the team but also for me because I was born and grew up quite close by. I have always really enjoyed racing there because I get a lot of support from my home fans and I also have good memories of winning my first Formula Junior race there, and of course winning the European Grand Prix in 2003 which was a very special moment. I hope to have another good result to celebrate this weekend and I am confident we are making progress, even though the result at Silverstone was disappointing. On the positive side, you could see from my sixth place in qualifying and my lap times during the race that our car has improved and we are able to compete higher up the grid. The team is pushing hard to continue this improvement and it would be great to see the results of that work with a points finish at one of our home tracks this weekend.”
Jarno Trulli “Silverstone was a weekend to forget to be honest. We had a good opportunity to score points because the car was quick, as you can see from Ralf’s great performance in qualifying. It was a shame that on my car I had no grip and was sliding a lot in the race. Formula 1 is about many little things so we have analysed the data from Silverstone and we will work on improving the set-up when practice starts on Friday. I am still optimistic for this weekend because I think the car definitely has potential and everyone is working very hard to get the best out of it. I know the Nürburgring circuit very well, not just from my 10 years in Formula 1 but also from my time in German Formula 3. The most important thing at this track is to find a good rhythm because the corners come at you very quickly. This is a home race for the team because our factory is based in Cologne so I will be pushing to get a positive result for everyone in the team.”
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis “At Silverstone our level of performance was good, the best so far this season. Obviously we struggled to deliver a race result which corresponded to our level of our performance and that was disappointing. We definitely hope to show the same level of performance at the Nürburgring. The track character is different because Silverstone is an extreme track in terms of tyre severity and average cornering speed. Nürburgring is more average in all aspects - in terms of downforce, as we will run medium downforce, in terms of braking stability and tyre usage. You have a bit of everything - you can be traction limited and front end limited. It is an average track but it doesn’t mean that average is not interesting - it’s a challenging track but without the special character of Silverstone for example. It’s always nice to have our home race, we can feel the pressure and encouragement from our supporters in the grandstands and this is an additional motivation for the race team. Our goal for this weekend has to be to score points and see our drivers fight for the top six again.”