Panasonic Toyota Racing F1 - Belgian Grand Prix - Preview

01.09.2008: Panasonic Toyota Racing F1 - Belgian Grand Prix - Preview


Panasonic Toyota Racing makes the short trip across the Belgian border this weekend to Spa-Francorchamps, just an hour away from the team's technical centre in Cologne, Germany. The 7.004km Spa-Francorchamps track is the longest on the Formula 1 calendar and hosts the Belgian Grand Prix for the 41st time on Sunday.

Its unique mix of high-speed corners and long straights makes it one of the most spectacular and challenging tracks in the world, while the Ardennes weather can be highly unpredictable. Toyota has some aerodynamic updates on the TF108 specifically to cope with the demands of Spa, although last week's successful test at Monza focused more on the upcoming Italian Grand Prix.

The team arrives in Belgium with a 10-point cushion in fourth place in the Constructors' Championship following consecutive double-points finishes and the aim this weekend is to strengthen that position while challenging for the podium.

Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "In my opinion Spa is simply the best circuit in the world and I love driving there. Every part of the circuit is challenging for a driver and that is fantastic because you have to really push in every corner to get the best lap time; it gives you a special feeling. I really enjoy driving at Spa and even after the changes they made to the track for last year's race it still has a unique character; it has everything you want as a driver.

Eau Rouge is still one of the best corners in the world but now it is flat-out so it's not as challenging as it used to be. I'm optimistic for this weekend because I believe we can have another strong result.

Spa is my favourite track and it is also quite close to the factory so I want to score points there to make it a perfect weekend."


Timo Glock (Car 12): "Spa is one of my favourite tracks so I can't wait to race there for the first time in Formula 1. It's a fantastic experience in a GP2 car so I am expecting it to be amazing in the TF108. I am going to Belgium with a lot of confidence because our performance in the last few races has been very impressive and we have proved we can fight at the front.

Personally it is very satisfying to have scored points in the last two races despite feeling unwell both times and I really believe we have made a lot of progress. It's really good for the team to be scoring points regularly and challenging for the podium.

We hope we will be strong again in Spa but we will see how it goes with the harder compound Bridgestone tyres. I am confident we can finish in the points again."


Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "Spa is really my home race now because I live close to the track and I love the place. It's just one of those places where you feel the enthusiasm in the drivers and everyone connected to the team. To see Formula 1 cars through Eau Rouge is fabulous - it is so quick, although now it is flat-out so you know that the cars are not at the limit.

Spa is a fantastic place to race, even when it rains. In terms of lay-out, Spa is very specific. The high-speed corners would normally require high downforce but the long straights mean it is really a medium-low downforce track.

Nowhere else do we have this combination of high-speed corners and still the need for aero efficiency; it is really unique in Formula 1. Spa is also severe on the engine, tyres and suspension; the brakes are the only item which has an easy time of it."


- Toyota, Koeln -


01.09.2008 / MaP

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