Paul Ricard day four - Toyota edge McLaren 22 May 2006
Testing concluded at Paul Ricard on Friday with Toyota and McLaren sharing the French circuit, which was again set up in its 1E SC layout for Canadian Grand Prix preparations.
Despite some engine issues limiting his running to 35 laps, Olivier Panis topped the times for Toyota, as the Japanese team completed their four-day programme with the latest TF106B car ahead of its race debut in Monte Carlo next weekend. Neither he nor team mate Ricardo Zonta reported any major problems and Pascal Vasselon, Toyotas senior general manager for chassis, was pleased with progress.
"This new (B) specification is more a development of the structure of the car, than a new aerodynamic package, with front mechanical grip improvement being one of the major goals, said Vasselon.
The track was set up the first two days to simulate the coming race in Monte Carlo, with both race drivers working on their set-up of each car. With this track solution, we could get an idea of how the car would react and what choice of tyres we will need for the race. For the last two days we used a different track solution, which was a longer course with two long straights to simulate and help prepare the race in Montreal.
McLaren pushed forward with their Michelin tyre selection for Canada, with Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett third and fourth in the times behind the Toyotas. De la Rosa was delayed slightly by a clutch problem, but the team still managed to complete their programme.
The next major test session takes place at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya in the week following the Monaco Grand Prix.
Unofficial Friday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:27.143
2. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:27.239
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:27.290
4. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:27.649