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Toyota won't 'kerb' Perera enthusiasm

1 January 1901


Toyota has refused to blame development driver Franck Perera for his two errors during testing on Tuesday, despite losing a couple of hours while repairs were made to the Frenchman's TF106.

The team resumed its winter test programme at Jerez following a one-day rest after Sunday's wet weather session, with F3 graduate Perera - who has tested impressively in a GP2 car this winter - joining regular reserve Ricardo Zonta for only his second full test with Toyota, after conducting six of the regular pre-race shakedown runs between June and October this year.

The coldest temperatures seen in winter testing so far this year meant a delayed start to the day, but both Zonta and Perera eventually got underway, with the Brazilian working through his usual development programme while his team-mate attempted to gain more mileage and achieve the 300km necessary to qualify for an F1 superlicence.

"It was a pretty good day - except that I made a small mistake in turn ten this morning," Perera admitted, after sustaining nose and rear suspension damage, "I took a little bit too much kerb, lost the back end and hit the tyre barrier very lightly. That cost us a couple of hours while the car was brought back and repaired.

"Then, at the very end, I lost control in turn five and had a quick spin, but there was no damage. We had made quite a big modification to the car, so maybe that was the reason. There was a lot for me to learn and take in - with the engine, the tyres and everything - and it was pretty different from what I experienced a year ago!"

Test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer insisted that Perera should not concern himself with the offs, and confirmed that the Frenchman would be back in the TF106 on Wednesday.

"Franck should not be too hard on himself - by the end of the day he was driving well and doing very reasonable times," Pfeiffer said, "It was more about the chance for him to gain some more experience and for us to evaluate him a little more and see what kind of feedback he can give to the engineers."


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