Q and A: Timo Glock

picture“I aim to win,” asserts Glock.

What are your personal targets for 2009?
“This year I want to build on my strong first season with Toyota. That means continuing to score points regularly – at every race if possible – and finishing on the podium more often. It would be amazing to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1.

It was great to get a second place in my first full Formula 1 season but now I want to become a more regular podium finisher; I could get used to podium champagne! In terms of my own personal development, I was really happy with how things improved throughout last season; I have a fantastic working relationship with my engineers, my car crew and the whole team and I expect that to continue. As a driver I learned a lot about the team and the car and that will help me considerably when we are developing the TF109.”

Are you confident Panasonic Toyota Racing has the potential for you to achieve your ambitions?
“Toyota’s aim is to win and my aim is to win. I have no doubt we have the potential to achieve this target. In 2009 we will fight to win Toyota’s first Grand Prix and I am sure we have the chance to do it. Since I arrived at Toyota I have been very impressed with the knowledge, the resources and the dedication at this team. Everyone is so professional and focused on succeeding, which gives me great confidence for the future.”

How have you developed as a driver since joining Toyota?
“I learnt a lot last year, especially when it came to developing a car and adjusting a Formula 1 car to my driving style, and vice versa. I have always had confidence in my ability and in my speed but I knew when I joined Toyota that it is not enough to be ‘only’ a very fast driver to succeed in Formula 1; you must also be very strong technically so you can appreciate the tiny changes we make to the set-up. I think it is clear to everyone that I am a quick driver; I scored 25 points and finished in the top 10 of the championship last year, ahead of several drivers who have won Grands Prix. Maybe it was not clear from the outside, but I have also developed a lot from a technical point of view and I believe I am much more capable of finding the perfect set-up and getting the best out of the car. The experience I had last year will be very helpful when we are working to get the best out of the TF109, with all the rule changes that have been made.”

What is your opinion of the new regulations?
“It will be really interesting to see if they make overtaking easier. On paper it looks like it should be a bit easier to overtake but you never know what it will be like on the track until you are in a race situation. I think they have gone in the right direction by reducing downforce and bringing back slicks so I am excited to see what the cars feel like. I am happy that Formula 1 is returning to slick tyres because they are more fun for the driver. I have plenty of experience of slicks from Champ Cars and GP2, so I expect to be able to adapt very quickly.”

Is the regulation change a big chance for Toyota?
“I think the big rule change is a huge opportunity for every team because we are all basically starting from scratch. I know the huge potential of our team so I am confident we will be strong with these new rules. Whenever there is such a big change, the advantage of the previous year’s top teams is reduced quite a bit. We had a competitive car in 2008 so our first challenge is to ensure we do not lose ground to the teams behind us, but our focus is in front and we want to not only close the gap but also move into the top three or four in the Constructors’ Championship. I am confident we have everything in place to do that.”

You will be busy in the cockpit next year with the moveable front wing….
“I don’t think there is room on the steering wheel for any more buttons! We already have quite a few adjustments we can make on the steering wheel, changing things like brake balance and engine mapping, so with another option it will be even busier. But I’m sure we will all cope fine. Having front wing options while we are driving is an interesting concept and I am looking forward to seeing what affect it will have. I am sure it will take a little getting used to, and we have to analyse how to make the best use of it. It gives us a lot of different options when it comes to set-up and in theory it should help the drivers in the race as well when it comes to overtaking.”

Do you feel completely part of the team now?
“I have felt totally at home with the team pretty much since my first day. I have a great relationship with my race engineer, Francesco Nenci, and everyone else who works on my car, not to mention the rest of the team. It has been very easy to become completely integrated into the team and it is fun to work with them. There are some great guys here who are pushing really hard to get success and they know I am fighting to the maximum to give it to them. We really are a close team and that’s very rewarding.”

How positive it is for Jarno to be your team-mate again in 2009?
“I have a great relationship with Jarno so I’m very pleased we will be team-mates again this year. He’s a great guy and a very talented driver so we have fun together but also I think we compliment each other well. It is really interesting to work alongside someone with all his experience in Formula 1 and I have learned a lot from him; how he develops a car, how he looks for the best set-up. Last year we worked together successfully to develop the TF108 throughout the season and we got some impressive results; I am sure we can do the same this year.”