Panasonic Toyota Racing heads to the Bahrain Grand Prix full of optimism after Jarno Trulli's impressive fourth place in Malaysia confirmed the significant step forward taken by the team over the winter. The Bahrain International Circuit hosts a Grand Prix for the fifth time and the Toyota team is well prepared, having spent six days in February testing on the 5.412km desert track, which features a combination of long straights and tight corners. Over the course of over 900 laps, Jarno, Timo Glock and Kamui Kobayashi worked on the set-up of the TF108 and showed the potential which has now been translated into encouraging qualifying and race pace. Once again, the team expects both cars to qualify in the top 10 and the ultimate target for race day is to improve on Jarno's seventh place in 2007 by achieving a double points finish.
Jarno Trulli: "The main topic in Bahrain is obviously braking because there is a lot of hard braking at the end of the long straights and to have a competitive car you need good braking stability. With the high temperatures as well, the brakes are really under stress. Top speed is also very important at this track because of the long straights and our challenge on Friday will be to find a set-up which gives high top speed and also suitable downforce for the corners. I had a fantastic result in Malaysia, which was great for the whole team, so we are all very motivated and looking forward to the next race. It will not be easy to repeat the result we had in Malaysia; we will need another perfect weekend, but we have shown that the new car is a big improvement and we are able to challenge for the top six. We had a productive test in Bahrain in February so I expect to be competitive and score more points."
Timo Glock: "It is very disappointing that I have not finished a race yet for Toyota but I hope that will change in Bahrain. The accident in Malaysia was unfortunate and it stopped me fighting for points, which I am sure I could have done. However, I prefer to look forward and I am still positive, especially after qualifying in the top 10 for both races so far. The test in Bahrain last month went well and the information we got from that should help us a bit this weekend, even if the temperature seems likely to be quite a bit hotter than when we were last there. The car has also improved quite a bit since that test but there is still work to do to adjust it to my driving style. Obviously my first target is to finish the race after my bad luck in the first two races but I think I can again reach Q3 and hopefully finish in the top eight for the first time with Toyota."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "After Jarno's great result in Malaysia we are all looking forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix withcautious optimism.We knowbetter what to expect this weekend because we tested in Bahrain over the winter. I was very pleased with the progress we madethere; the track isan interesting combination of slow-speed traction and high-speed corners, so we were able to a lot of good work on set-up. We did a lot of lapsfor reliability assessment and in our race simulation we looked reasonably competitive considering that our race one package was not available at that time. What was particularly satisfying about our pace in Malaysia was that our level of competitiveness was in line with our expectations after pre-season testing and I expect us to build on this. The result in Malaysia gave the whole team a lift and we expect another strong result this weekend."