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Toyota confident of Monaco gains 18 May 2007

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota TF106.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 25 May 2006

The Toyota team are expecting a return to form in next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. After a disappointing start to the season, the Japanese squad are optimistic that recent revisions to the TF107 will allow them to add to their current tally of just five points.

The bulk of those revisions were already on the car at the last round in Spain, where neither Ralf Schumacher nor Jarno Trulli finished. However, both men are sure that the Barcelona outcome was not representative of its true potential - something they now intend to exploit fully in Monte Carlo.

“Our car has improved, even if that was not clear from my results in qualifying or the race, but we still have work to do and we will be pushing hard for a better result in Monaco,” said Schumacher.

“We were strong in qualifying and it was particularly encouraging to see we had the same fuel strategy as the leading cars, so performance-wise we have made a step forward,” added Trulli. “If we can get back to the reliability we showed at the start of the season, Monaco should be a positive weekend for us.”

Like all their rivals, Toyota will bring a special high-downforce aero package to Monaco, comprising primarily revised front and rear wings. However, just as important will be their drivers’ pedigree around the Monte Carlo streets - Schumacher took pole in 2003, while Trulli did the same and won in 2004.

“The factors that determine performance in Monaco are completely different to all other races,” commented Pascal Vasselon, the team’s senior general chassis manager. “Engine power and aerodynamics are slightly less important in Monaco than elsewhere so you are left with tyres and drivers as the key factors.

“In Spain the new aero package worked well, it gave us two or three extra tenths as expected,” he added. “We were not able to demonstrate this clearly in the race but Jarno’s lap in qualifying showed we have made an improvement, especially when you consider we had a similar fuel strategy to the front cars. In Monaco we have to show this in the race and get back into the points.”

At last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, both Toyotas qualified in the top ten, but the team came away with just a single point for Schumacher’s eighth place after Trulli retired with a hydraulics failure.