Exclusive interview with Timo Glock 30 Nov 2007
After the success of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, GP2 champions are a valuable commodity. No wonder then that 2007 title holder Timo Glock has become hot property of late, with his Toyota signing catapulting him from BMW tester to full-time racer for 2008.
Ahead of his track debut with his new team at Jerez next week, we caught up with Glock to find out what he hopes to achieve with the Japanese squad, and to discover why GP2 was so important to his Formula One race return
Q: Looking at your CV, it has been quite a winding road to your 2008 Toyota seat: from Formula BMW, Formula Three Euro series, a brief stint in F1 in 04, Champ Car and GP2. Which of these series had the biggest impact on your career?
Timo Glock: Champ Car was very important for me personally and in terms of racing as well, but I think GP2 had the biggest impact on my career. I had lots of good battles against Lewis (Hamilton) and Nelson (Piquet Jr) and a lot of good races in 2007.
Q: You are the reigning GP2 champion and the title obviously paved the way for a Formula One drive - as it did for previous champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. It seems GP2 is delivering what it is supposed to - young talent worthy of Formula One. Would you agree?
TG: Yes, definitely. Its the best championship outside of Formula One at the moment and you race in front of the Formula One teams, so it is the best platform.
Q: Toyota have signed you as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher. How did that happen?
TG: I cant go into details about contractual matters, but my management had some discussions with Formula One teams and I was very pleased to reach an agreement with Toyota.
Q: You received interest from more than one team. What turned the balance in Toyotas favour?
TG: I made the decision because Toyota has a lot of potential and its a big motivation for me to be a driver for one of the top teams in F1.
Q: And what do you think you can contribute to the team?
TG: I think I have got experience in teamwork from the past years and I will never give up until we are successful.
Q: Toyota has all the ingredients to be a successful team - but isnt yet. There is still a lot of fundamental groundwork to be done. This must have an effect on your expectations
TG: Yes, Toyota has the possibility to be successful but its difficult for me to say why they were not successful in the past two years because I didnt spend enough time with the team to find out why. My expectations are that I want to do a 100-percent job for the team, grow with them and get 100 percent out of the team to be successful
Q: Are you not you worried that in focusing on building up the team your own career might suffer? It has happened to other teams and drivers in the past
TG: I am very happy and proud to be joining Toyota and I think it is a good move for my career. There is a lot of potential in the team so I am confident we will make good progress together. They are still quite a new team compared to other teams in F1, but they are really determined to succeed, so I am positive about the future.
Q: You have never driven the TF107, so next weeks Jerez test will mark your debut. How does that feel?
TG: I am very excited to be driving a Toyota for the first time at Jerez. I am looking forward to getting to know the team and the car.
Q: How familiar are you with the team and your new team mate Jarno Trulli? Have you had the chance to spend some time at the factory getting to know people?
TG: I have only met some organisational people at Toyota, but as soon as possible I want to spend a lot of time at the factory, to meet the engineers and mechanics - and the whole team. I havent met Jarno yet but I will do soon. He has a lot of experience, he is really quick and I think we will work well together to bring the team forward.
Q: And when did your seat fitting take place?
TG: As soon as it was confirmed that I could test for Toyota at Jerez we had to think about all the practical things like seat fittings, uniforms, that kind of thing. It has just happened and we are still fixing things together for the test.