Toyota not making any predictions

The Panasonic Toyota team conducted a four-day test at Circuit Paul Ricard last week in preparation for Monaco. A trio of drivers completed a total of 300 laps, evaluating tyres for Michelin, working on Monaco specific car set-ups and testing new aerodynamic parts in the search for more downforce

Toyota not making any predictions

At 3.340km Monaco presents the shortest lap of the season, which has just been shortened by another 27 metres after changes in the approach to the Rascasse hairpin. The 78-lap race demands utmost concentration and commitment from drivers with the famously narrow and bumpy streets leaving no margin for error.

1996 Monaco race winner Olivier Panis is one of just seven drivers who have won the prestigious event in the last 20 years. "It is very important to have a good balance on the car, especially for the one lap qualifying," he said. "Qualifying is important on all circuits but it is absolutely essential at Monaco because it is impossible to overtake. This will lead to interesting strategies in second qualifying for the race.

"The swimming pool is one my favourite parts of the lap and is very fast. It is also worth noting that the corner of the tunnel is one of the quickest corners in the championship - we take it flat-out. We have worked so hard this season, I can't think of a more fitting place than Monaco to score a good result - and my first points of the year."

Monaco resident Cristiano da Matta will draw on his vast street circuit experience from the US CART series for his debut in the Principality. "Although this weekend will be the first time I get to race in Monaco, I have lived here for the past few months and I have driven on the track many times in a road car.

"It looks like a fun track and everyone tells me it is great to drive. I hope that my experience of the street tracks in CART will be useful to get to grips with the circuit quickly this weekend. I had a highly productive day of testing at Paul Ricard last week, where we replicated some of the technical pressures that Monaco will serve up, so I am quite hopeful that we can reproduce the kind of points-scoring performance we had in Spain two races ago."

Team principal Ove Andersson is optimistic, although a DNF and a tenth place in Austria has tempered his tone. "I said after the race in Austria that I am not going to make any predictions for Monaco, and I have not changed my mind," he said.

"In the six races so far this season, we have seen some discrepancy in our overall performance, but we are still a young team and we are still learning valuable lessons. Monaco offers all teams and drivers a unique challenge, and I am confident that we are up to this challenge, as we were last year. I think we have all the pieces of the puzzle to get a strong result - it's again about putting them all together - and I am hopeful that Monaco will be the place where we can do just that."

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