Open Wheel News
French Grand Prix - Preview - Panasonic Toyota Racing
Jun 16, 2008 - 9:50:52 AM
Panasonic Toyota Racing returns to Europe this weekend for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in a sombre mood after the recent death of Ove Andersson. The Swede, who was Panasonic Toyota Racing's first Team Principal and the driving force behind Toyota's World Championship successes in rallying, was killed in a crash during a historic rally in South Africa last week. He was 70. To mark his passing, both TF108s will feature a black band around the monocoque while the design of the team garage will also include black. A book of condolences, which will be given to Ove's family, will be available in the team's motorhome for all Formula 1 personnel and media to sign. Naturally, the team is aiming for a strong result as a fitting tribute to a man whose passion for motorsport inspired many. Following its best result of the season so far, with Timo taking fourth place and Jarno sixth in Canada, there are aerodynamic modifications for this weekend's race. These were successfully tested last week in Barcelona and the target for the French Grand Prix is to add to the 17 points already collected this season.
Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "Magny-Cours is an exciting circuit. It has a lot of quick chicanes, which I like, but also some slow and medium speed corners so this makes it an interesting and challenging track. I enjoy visiting France and I feel quite at home there. The French fans are always very supportive to me and I hope we can really show them how competitive our car is by scoring points again. In particular we want to achieve a strong result this weekend as a tribute to Ove because without him I'm not sure whether Toyota would be competing in Formula 1 now. He helped build up the factory from scratch back in the rally times to what it is now; a real Formula 1 facility with the potential to produce World Championship-winning cars. He loved motorsport and it was his passion to see Toyota succeed so I hope we can achieve something fitting this weekend."
Timo Glock (Car 12): "To me Magny-Cours isn't a particularly special track; it's okay and quite challenging but it's by no means a favourite of mine. It was great to finish in fourth place in Canada, particularly because it was a good reward for the hard work which everyone at the team has put in this year. I knew we had the potential to get a good result but it was a matter of everything coming together, and this happened in Canada but I was very close previously when circumstances denied me. Now I have scored my first points for the team I look forward to scoring more in the near future. I think our car will be reasonably competitive in Magny-Cours and we had a good test in Barcelona last week so we are well prepared. I know the team is quite shocked at the moment because of Ove Andersson's accident so it would be nice to give them a result. Personally I didn't work with Ove but I have heard a lot about him and it was very sad news."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "Obviously this is a sad time for the team and we are all shocked about what happened to Ove. This gives us added motivation to succeed this weekend. Following our result in Canada, we are of course optimistic for this race and we hope to again challenge for the points. I like Magny-Cours. It's a really good place to race because there are no distractions and no extra pressures; everything is about the racing. Also, we are in a very French part of the season after French-speaking races in Monaco and Montreal so I have to say I appreciate that. From a technical point of view we are back to track with average demands; there are no special issues and downforce will be medium-high. It is a high-grip track and it is not too bumpy so you can really maximise the suspension set-up for aerodynamic efficiency; the main concern there is to make sure you go well on a couple of kerbs."
2002 Speed Arena