The last GP2 champion to be promoted to a permanent Formula One race seat was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, so Toyota must have great expectations for new signing Timo Glock. Unlike Hamilton, however, Glock is no rookie, having made his Formula One race debut with Jordan back in 2004.
The German driver himself certainly has high hopes for his first permanent Grand Prix drive. Ahead of the new Toyota TF108’s track debut this week, the former BMW Sauber tester revealed his thoughts on the year ahead…
Q: What were your feelings on being named a Panasonic Toyota Racing driver? Timo Glock: It was a very special moment for me because to become a full-time Formula One race driver has been my goal for the past few years and it feels great to achieve that. I have worked hard over the past few years to get this opportunity and I must say I am grateful to the team for having faith in me. I am confident we will be able to work well together.
Q: What were your first impressions of the team when you tested in December? TG: I enjoyed working with the team, we work well together and since I first met the guys at the factory in Cologne for the seat fitting, everything has been great. It was good fun to work with them, they do a really good job, everything is calm, there is no panic and they are concentrating the whole time - that is important.
Q: How did you find driving without traction control? TG: I drove without traction control at Jerez in December but I am used to that from GP2 so it wasn’t a big problem, although of course in a Formula One car everything is a bit different. For me, I am looking forward to driving without driver aids and I think the new regulation will suit me.
Q: How will it feel to line up on the grid in Australia for the first time as a full-time Formula One race driver? TG: I can’t wait. It will be a very proud and exciting moment for me but I will also be focused on getting the best possible result in the race, as always. Formula One will be a little different compared to the other series I have raced in because I am racing against 21 of the best drivers in the world, but my job is still the same - to get the best possible result from my car.
Q: How much experience do you have of the Formula One circuits? TG: I know almost all of the circuits on the calendar. I know the European tracks very well from GP2 but also from 2004, when I was test driver at Jordan. During that season some teams were able to run three cars on a Friday so I drove at most of the tracks, which gives me a good start for next season. There are two or three tracks which are new to me but I learn quickly and the new computer games are pretty useful for learning new circuits! It shouldn’t be a problem.
Q: What are your targets for 2008? TG: I want to have the most successful season possible. I aim to be consistent and to help the team move upwards. My first goal will be to regularly challenge for points and I believe we will be able to do that.
Q: Are you optimistic for the future of Panasonic Toyota Racing? TG: Very much so. The facility in Cologne and the resources available are just perfect at the moment. There is a huge amount of potential at Toyota - everything is very professional and it is clear the team is determined to move forwards. Our challenge is to bring it all together to get the results we want and I am quite confident about that.
Q: Do you feel any pressure as the new race driver for a works team like Panasonic Toyota Racing? TG: There is always pressure to succeed as a racing driver. When I moved to Champ Cars and GP2 there was pressure to prove I deserved another chance in Formula One. I have proved that and now there is pressure to prove I belong in Formula One - I am confident I can prove that this year. As a racing driver you accept this kind of pressure and it doesn’t affect you.
Q: How easy will it be to adjust to racing in Formula One racing again? TG: Even though I have not raced in Formula One since 2004, I have tested quite regularly so I expect it will take very little time for me to get back in the groove. I have been lucky enough to race and succeed in several different championships in my career but my goal has always been to become a full-time Formula One race driver. I believe my experience has made me stronger as a driver and as a person.
Q: How important was the GP2 title to you? TG: Of course, to return to Formula One racing as GP2 Series champion is a real honor and we’ve all seen how well Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have performed as champions so that is very encouraging. In the end, it did not make a difference to my Formula One plans whether I finished first or second in GP2 but it was a big achievement to win the title and a special moment for me.
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