Singapore race stewards have rejected an appeal by Toyota against Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel. The Toyota team had complained that during one of their pit stops, Vettel had been released dangerously into the path of Timo Glock.
Race stewards examined footage of the incident and questioned both drivers over the event and decided that no action needed to be taken.
The decision means that with three races left on the 2008 calendar, Toyota are 15 points ahead of Toro Rosso.
Toyota chief expects tyres to be a handful in Singapore
Formula One will step into the unknown this week for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix and the first ever night race.
With the landmark event set to start under floodlights at 2000hrs local time, the teams face a huge logistical challenge in adapting to the different timetable and operating under artificial lighting.
But in terms of raw performance, Toyota President John Howett reckons that the biggest challenge will be managing the cooler temperatures and getting heat into the tyres.
Several drivers have already been caught out this season in the cooler temperatures, most notably Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, and with the possibility of rain in Singapore this will be a decisive factor once again.
“The surface temperature of the track will be very low and normally Formula 1 tyres work best in higher temperatures,” said Howett.
“Then of course at that time of year there’s a high probability of rain. So we will face difficulty with temperature, made worse possibly by heavy rain.”
“Night racing is a challenge but we’re a team that has come from Le Mans so we should be able to handle that quite easily.”
In order allow the drivers to become accustomed to the new 5.067km track, the first practice on Friday will take place from 1600-1730 hours, before the second session is run after dark, from 2000-2130 hours. The qualifying sessions on Saturday will also run after sunset.
“I’ve seen the plans and the Grand Prix looks amazing so far, although you always need to drive the track first before having a proper idea of it,” says Jarno Trulli, relishing the prospect of hustling his TF108 around the street track.
“You need to understand the corners and the speeds so you know more about the set-up and the kind of downforce we are going to run. It is a new challenge because we don’t know the track or the conditions so it will be interesting.”
Toyota have announced that Richard Cregan will be leaving his position of Team Manager at the end of November. The 48 year old has chosen to move on and take up a new role in motor sport, having spent the past 24 years with the Toyota team.
Cregan began his career at Toyota as a rally mechanic before becoming operations manager for their World Rally Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours efforts. When Toyota decided to join Formula One, Cregan helped Ove Andersson formulate a plan. He became General Manager F1 Operations in 2002 before becoming Team Manager in 2004.
Jens Marquardt will be taking over from Cregan. Marquardt has worked with Toyota since 2000 in their engine department.
“We are very sad to be losing a team member of Richard’s qualities but we understand his reasons and we wish him the very best of luck in his new challenge,” Toyota’s team principal Tadashi Yamashina said. “Richard played an important part in Toyota Motorsport’s history.
“We salute his numerous achievements, which include providing a positive working environment at the factory and at tracks around the world as well as implementing the Toyota Way in Formula One, where we have achieved significant progress in areas such as pit stops and car operations.
“Looking to the future I am delighted Jens will take this new opportunity, which he thoroughly deserves. Jens has been with our company for eight years and is a valuable team member who has shown great ability and a positive attitude. He has a suitable amount of time to learn his new tasks from Richard and we are confident the transition will be a smooth one.”
After a stunning weekend in Hungary, Timo Glock looks set to be rewarded for his efforts with a renewal to his contract.
Glock s race weekend was in stark contrast to the previous race meet where his suspension broke, sending him smashing into the pit-wall. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, he bounced back from his accident and finished a well-deserved second.
His future with the team had been in doubt a difficult start to the season saw the German driver fail to score any points in the first six races of the season and many believed that the F1 rookie would have his contract extended.
However his recent good form means that it appears Toyota will be taking up the option of signing him as part of the original multi-year contract that he signed towards the end of 2007.
“As I stand here today, we intend to keep both drivers,â€ Toyota s team principal John Howett told Autosport. “And I don t think that s ever been in doubt to be honest.
“I’m just happy that he had a really strong race here. Jarno would have had a stronger race if he hadn’t been caught behind Mark Webber because of a bad start. Overall I’m very happy we had a strong result today.
“Certainly from the moment he [Glock] drove out of the garage on Friday he has been on it all weekend. If you really look at his sector times from qualifying earlier in the season, he was struggling to put a complete lap together but generally showing he had the speed to do it.
“He proved to himself in Hockenheim, particularly on race pace, how quick he was and the fact he had an issue and he just continued from that point this weekend.”
The confirmation that Glock will probably be staying at Toyota means that it is almost certain that Toyota-backed driver Kazuki Nakajima will remain at Williams for the 2009 season.
Two weeks on from his nasty impact with the Hockenheim pit-wall and a rejuvenated Timo Glock was looking every bit a star of the future in Hungary as he traded lap-times with Formula One’s powerhouses en-route to a sensational second place.
Luck played its part with Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa both falling victim to the cruelty of technical misfortune, but Timo Glock climbed up onto the second step of the podium entirely on merit after a dazzling assault on the Budapest circuit.
The German, who has been on the pace in his Toyota in Hungary all weekend – he started the race an impressive fifth place – got the jump on Robert Kubica at the start to take fourth and never looked back.
“What an incredible feeling,” revelled the Toyota driver after fending off a charging Kimi Raikkonen in the dying laps to take his maiden podium. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw Felipe’s engine go and I was P2. To get such a good result in my first year is fantastic so a huge thank you to all the team, including the engineers, mechanics and everyone at the factory.”
“I knew from qualifying that we had good speed and we’ve looked strong all weekend. Today I made a good start and gained a place into the first corner.”
The only threat to his second place position came in the form of Kimi Raikkonen in the last few laps, as Glock struggled with the handling of his Toyota on the soft tyres. But the 2007 GP2 champion used all of his knowledge of the track from his GP2 days to keep the Finn at bay.
“I had a really good car and everything went perfectly until the last stint on the soft tyres,” explained the 26-year-old. “I was struggling a lot and soon I had Kimi behind me.”
“But I knew from last year here in GP2, when I was stuck in the midfield in a really good car, how hard it is to pass here. So when I saw him in the mirrors I knew I couldn’t afford any mistakes.”
“This result more than makes up for Hockenheim and now we must keep picking up regular points until the end of the season.”
Toyota’s Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina was lost for words: “I really can’t find the words to celebrate this result, the best of our season. We had a few difficulties in practice but during qualifying the drivers pushed themselves to the limit and things got better and better.”
“Today Timo did a fantastic race. We saw immediately that his car was quick and his third stint was almost perfect. He was under threat from Kimi but he was quick in the third sector and he was able to fend him off.
“So this is a stunning performance and my thanks go out to the whole team and everyone working in the factory. I’m very appreciative of all their hard work and next we will aim for the centre of the podium.”
Toyota have been threatening to cause problems for BMW Sauber for the last few races, and in qualifying in Hungary Timo Glock almost did just that after planting his TF108 on the third row, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Unfazed by his nasty crash in Hockenheim a fortnight ago, Glock let loose a searing pace as he hustled his Toyota over the Budapest kerbing en-route to fifth place, less than a tenth of a second shy of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica.
Furthermore, there is every reason to assume that his pace his genuine with his second place in the all-critical Q2 where the teams and drivers run on low fuel levels leading Toyota to instigate an investigation into why the team “slightly underperformed” in Q3.
“That was a very good qualifying session for me and I’m obviously delighted,” revelled Glock afterwards. “We made a good start in first practice yesterday. The team did a good job overnight and we made the right choice over set-up.”
“It wasn’t easy today because we had a very tight choice over tyres so we had to make a close decision for every lap. But in the end my engineers stayed cool and got it right. In Q2 the car felt perfect.”
“Then on the very last lap it was a bit trickier again because the tyres didn’t behave quite as well, but I’m happy with P5. We are in a great situation for tomorrow.”
It is the third time that Glock as out-qualified his vastly more experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli, who was disappointed to line up ninth, though the Italian veteran maintains a significant lead in the head-to-head tally.
The performance also marks a significant step forward for Toyota, who have had a decent run of form of late, with strong results in Canada and Magny-Cours, albeit without much to show for their efforts in Silverstone and Hockenheim. But the TF108, complete with a new aerodynamic package for Hungary, looks well suited to the demands of the Hungaroring, at least in the hands of Timo Glock, and could spring a surprise in the race.
However, with Jarno Trulli struggling with the balance of his TF108, Toyota have said they will investigate the cause of the difference between their pace in Q2 and Q3.
“We were fighting in the top three for all the sessions, except for the very last lap,” explained Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s Senior General Manager. “We will investigate what happened but compared to the outings before we slightly underperformed.”
“Still, there is no room for disappointment. Timo took his best ever grid position and he was very strong during all the sessions. We’ll have to see what the fuel loads are tomorrow but when all the cars were at low fuel he was consistently in the top three.”
“Jarno struggled for balance so we will look into the data tonight. The tyres were a very close call today but we organised our run plan so that we were able to make the right decisions at the right time and it worked out. Now we have a strong position for the race tomorrow with both drivers.”
Toyota have found the cause of Timo Glock s crash. The German driver suffered a big impact at the German Grand Prix on lap 36 his suspension looked to fail on the final corner of the lap, sending the car careering across the track and smashing into the pit wall.
Toyota have said that the incident was caused by one of the parts within Glock s car being carried over from Silverstone to Hockenheim and it failed due to being damaged during the British Grand Prix. The team have said they have now changed their inspection processes so that the same problem will not happen again.
Following Timo Glock’s incident during the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Toyota Motorsport initiated a thorough investigation,” Toyota said in a statement.
“This initially established that a rear toelink gave way causing Timo to lose control of the car, but confirmed that there were no exceptional circumstances before or during the incident in the German Grand Prix.
“Further investigation has established that damage sustained in the British Grand Prix two weeks earlier was the cause. During that race Timo suffered several incidents.
“As is normal practice, some parts from the British Grand Prix were carried over to Hockenheim, including most of the rear right suspension. Although the parts were subjected to the normal test and screening process following the Silverstone race and passed fit for use at Hockenheim, it has become apparent that it did not identify an issue which subsequently led to the incident at Hockenheim.
“As a result of this investigation, Toyota Motorsport has revised its inspection processes to include such cases and is extremely confident there will be no repeat.”
David Coulthard has called on the FIA to launch a probe into the Toyota cars. Coulthard said that when Red Bull had failures of their suspension at Sepang and Melbourne at the start of the season, the FIA asked Red Bull to put together a report showing that the car was safe to race. The Scottish driver believes that the FIA should be doing the same thing for Toyota as they have now had two chassis problems a rear wing fell off at Silverstone, and the suspension failed on Glock s car at Hockenheim.
“I didn t hear of any investigation into the structural integrity of the Toyota,â€ he explained in his column for the ITV website. “But presumable that will happen because when we had a suspension breakage in Malaysia we came under the spotlight of the FIA in a way that was publicly uncomfortable for the team.â€
Toyota president John Howett has said the team will be reviewing footage of Glock s rescue after he crashed at Hockenheim as they are unsure whether marshals followed the correct procedures.
Glock crashed heavily into the pit wall at Hockenheim after his suspension failed at the final corner. Marshals quickly arrived on the scene and helped Glock from his car. Glock was clutching his back and appeared winded and was given a chair to sit on before being taken to the medical centre.
Talking to motorsport-total.com, Howett said, “We want to talk about how the driver was recovered from the cockpit. However, we do not wish to complain.”
“Usually the driver is taken out of the car along with the seat. We understand that in the heat of the moment you can get excited. We will look at the video and figure out exactly what happened. The most important thing is that Timo is absolutely okay.
Glock was taken to hospital as a precaution after the crash and was discharged yesterday.
Both McLaren and Toyota were seen testing out an â€˜anvil wing during testing at Hockenheim last week. However according to Autosport, neither team is planning to use the wing at the German Grand Prix.
In an interview with Autosport, Toyota driver Jarno Trulli said that the test last week were important for the team as it was the first time they have run on Bridgestone s Potenza tyres at the track, and therefore they garnered a lot of useful information.
“We had a promising test last week at Hockenheim which was very useful because we have not raced there for two years and we had the chance to study set-ups and tyre behaviour,” he explained.
“That was the first time we have used the current Bridgestone Potenza tyres at Hockenheim and it was important to understand their characteristics at this circuit. We made good progress with some new aero parts and hopefully this track will suit our car.
“I have finished in the points for the last three races which shows how competitive we are at the moment, so my target this weekend is to again score points and fight for the top six. I am optimistic as usual.”
Meanwhile McLaren driver revealed that the team would not be using the fin as they needed to be sure it wouldn t affect the car too much in heavy crosswinds.