Toyotas Pascal Vasselon on Magny-Cours 18 Jun 2008
Ahead of this weekends French Grand Prix, Pascal Vasselon, Toyotas senior general manager (chassis), discusses his fondness for Magny-Cours, the tracks demands on the teams TF108 machine, and how the squad might perform in France
Q: Do you like Magny-Cours?
Pascal Vasselon: I do like Magny-Cours - I have to otherwise it seems not many people do! From my point of view, it's a really good place to race because it has an anti-stress environment. There are no distractions and no extra pressures; everything is about the racing.
Q: After the city races in Monaco and Montreal, do you appreciate the contrast of Magny-Cours?
PV: Personally, yes, I look forward to working somewhere with fewer distractions. Funnily enough, things seem to get done much quicker in Monaco and Montreal and the team are leaving a bit earlier than usual. That isn't the case in Magny-Cours - I don't know why! There is much more of a community feeling in the paddock there, which I really enjoy. Also, we are in a very French part of the season after French-speaking races in Monaco and Montreal so I have to say I appreciate that.
Q: Are you sad to hear this may well be the last Grand Prix at Magny-Cours for the foreseeable future?
PV: Of course I am sad if Magny-Cours drops off the calendar, but I am especially sad because we don't know what is happening next. It wouldn't be so bad if we knew the race was going to Paris or wherever but at the moment it doesn't seem like there is a clear plan.
Q: Can you imagine a Formula One season without the French Grand Prix?
PV: Considering the French history in Formula One and the French passion for motorsport in general it would be very strange to have no French Grand Prix. But I'm sure the people concerned are doing everything they can to make sure the French Grand Prix has a future and I'm sure the situation will be resolved soon.
Q: What are the Magny-Cours fans like?
PV: Magny-Cours certainly doesn't attract the same kind of people as a race such as Monaco. Probably because Magny-Cours is so far away from any major city, you generally have fans attending who are true motorsport fans. They are not just people who want to be where there is some action; they really care about the sport. These guys are pure fans.
Q: From a technical point of view, how would you describe Magny-Cours?
PV: We are back to an average track and one which doesn't massively stick out in terms of the working window of the different parameters on the car. There are no special issues and downforce will be medium-high. It is a high-grip track and it is not too bumpy so you can really maximise the suspension set-up for aerodynamic efficiency; the main concern there is to make sure you go well on a couple of kerbs.
Q: Are there any new items on the TF108 for the French Grand Prix?
PV: We aim to have continuous updates of the car throughout the season. There is nothing special for this race but we do have a couple of new bits to upgrade our baseline aerodynamic configuration.