Q&A with Toyotas Timo Glock 09 Apr 2008
Timo Glocks return to the Formula One cockpit this season, has - as yet - not quite gone to plan. While Jarno Trulli has proved that the Toyota certainly has pace enough to score points, Glock has finished just one Grand Prix.
Following his ninth place in Bahrain last weekend, however, the German is confident that, with a little more luck and a lot more testing, he can get equal performance from the TF108 as his more experienced team mate
Q: How was the Bahrain weekend for you?
Timo Glock: It was positive to complete a race distance after what happened in Australia and Malaysia but obviously I would be happier if I had finished in the points. Qualifying wasnt easy and in Q2 on my second run I could feel the car wasnt handling as well as it had been earlier, probably because of the wind. It was disappointing not to make it to Q3 but I was strong in the race. I made up quite a few positions and it is encouraging to see the level of performance we have. Jarno drove another great race and its fantastic for the team to see how competitive we are this season.
Q: How close were you to your first championship point for Toyota?
TG: I was really close because I had the pace to beat Nico Rosberg in the final round of pit stops and get eighth place. Unfortunately I had a gearbox control problem which meant that we switched to back-up mode. Without that problem I think I would have been eighth.
Q: Was it an advantage for you to get experience of the track in February?
TG: I raced at Sakhir in GP2 and of course back in 2004 I did Friday practice, so I had some circuit experience, but the test in February was positive and it was good to arrive in Bahrain with some experience of the TF108 on this track. We did a race simulation so we had some data, although all the teams were up to speed and quick by the end of Friday anyway. Also, we were faced with different conditions every day, with the wind changing, so we had to adapt to that.
Q: You have had three Grands Prix back in Formula One racing now, how are you settling in?
TG: Im enjoying it a lot. Its not so different from other classes of racing but what you notice is that you have a really tight schedule compared to GP2 or Champ Car. Theres all the travelling of course and you see a lot of airports. But thats the life of a Formula One driver. You couldnt do it if you had a plane phobia!
Q: Is the amount of testing in Formula One racing a big change compared to other series?
TG: That is definitely true. In GP2 you are limited, and the same with Champ Car and Formula Three, so it is a lot of work now compared to those championships. You gather a lot of information in testing and you need to understand how to use that to move your set-up in the right direction. It is interesting to watch Jarno in testing because he has so much experience and when I watch him at work he just knows what he has to do. He is so professional and I am learning a lot.
Q: So do you find yourself thinking about car development much more?
TG: Its strange because it is in your head 24 hours a day and all you can do is try to improve. It is not easy to progress even though so much development is going on. If you do make one tiny mistake and go in the wrong direction, you lose time. Formula One is more complex, the team is much bigger than GP2 and the car is more involved in terms of aerodynamics; it makes a huge difference when, for example, the wind changes. Then there are the grooved tyres which require a different approach to slicks, so there has been a lot of work to do but I am constantly developing and Im pretty happy with how things are going so far.
Q: Are you looking forward to testing at Barcelona before the European season starts?
TG: Yes. It will be an important week because the pre-season Barcelona test was quite difficult for me as I struggled a bit with getting the tyres working in the conditions. But the temperatures were quite low and that wont be the case when we go back. Jarno had a better feeling with the car and he set a fast lap time on the last day of pre-season testing. We have a lot of work to do at the test; we are working with some new aero parts - the first new aero package of the season - and the whole team is determined to keep pushing to close the gap on the top three teams.
Q: How is the feeling within the team?
TG: Everyone was really happy about the points in Malaysia and Jarno carried that through to Bahrain with another good result while I had a strong race, despite the gearbox problem towards the end. You could already see in Melbourne how good it was for motivation when we got both cars through to Q3 and then in Malaysia and Bahrain we have shown that our car is really competitive, so you can see that everyone is pushing as hard as possible. The pack behind McLaren, Ferrari and BMW is very tight but we seem to be best of the rest of the moment. The top three teams are not so far in front and it is so tight between Red Bull, Williams and us. The whole team is working really hard and feeling optimistic.