Trulli Ready For Monaco
May 13, 2005 | 12:01 P.M. EST
"Monaco is a place where the driver probably makes more of a difference than anywhere else, but the handling of the car is still important and so are the tires," Trulli said. "Toyota has had a great season so far but it's difficult to predict exactly how we will perform at Monaco until we try the circuit with our package."
After last week's third-place finish in Imola, Trulli continues his hold on second-place in the standings 18 points behind Renault's Fernando Alonso and just nine points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the San Marino Grand Prix winner.
Panasonic Toyota's engineers aren't taking the challenge qwaiting them at this circuit - once famously compared to 'riding a bike around your living room' - lightly, as they work to build a car that can out-last the long, punishing afternoons in Monaco and give Trulli a podium finish.
"It's difficult to prepare for Monaco because there is no other circuit like it, so we use the data gathered from previous races there," chief race engineer Dieter Gass commented. "Due to Monaco's tight nature we take a second spare car - one for each of the race drivers. We also have to ensure the suspension is strong enough to survive when a driver brushes the barriers.
"Monaco is very narrow, which makes overtaking virtually impossible. But, while qualifying is very important you still need a car that can perform for all 78 laps of the grueling race. So consistency is the key and we won't compromise our race pace by being tempted to reduce the fuel load for qualifying. Some cars might do only one pit stop and if you are stuck behind a slower car it can ruin your race," Gass continued.
Trulli hopes to continue on this season's success at Monaco, the site of his first Grand Prix win, by adding to his three 2005 podium finishes.
"Monaco is obviously one of my favourite tracks and I have some special memories from last year, when I won the race from pole. It's a dream for any driver to win his first grand prix and the way I won, dominating qualifying and the race, gave me a lot of satisfaction. But that is now the past and I'm ready for the next challenge with Panasonic Toyota Racing this year. We'll be giving everything to keep up our run of good results," he said.