Exclusive interview - Toyotas Timo Glock 22 Aug 2008
Prior to Timo Glocks performance in Hungary, it had been quite a while since Toyota celebrated a second place - Bahrain 2005 to be exact. No wonder then that the team were delighted with Glocks sensational result, splitting Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen on the Budapest podium. The man himself is confident that there is more to come this season, perhaps even in Valencia with its all-new street circuit. The German believes the skills he acquired in the US Champ Car series - where every track was a new one for him - will help him adapt more quickly than his more experienced peers
Q: Timo, how have things been since your podium, dealing with the media frenzy?
Timo Glock: Ah, after Budapest there was quite a lot to do. And I realised that the post-race activities after such a result take a fair bit of energy out of you. But, believe me, being on the podium was worth everything that followed, even though I was quite tired after the race due to the stomach problems that I had.
Q: You were sandwiched between a McLaren and a Ferrari. Does this mean Toyota have finally arrived at the top?
TG: Well, to really arrive at the top we have to go another step higher, but the steps that weve made in recent weeks show that we are going in the right direction and that we have a good basis now in terms of the car. From now on we will have a couple of small improvements at every race. It feels good for the team and for the guys back in Cologne as it boosts motivation when you can show good results like Jarno (Trulli) in Magny- Cours and myself in Budapest.
Q: When you saw the chequered flag, what went through your mind? And what were you thinking on the podium?
TG: Gee, that was really something, I said to myself. The big point was when I realised that I could fend off Kimi (Raikkonen) - that took a lot of pressure away and I could enjoy the last two laps. And it was fantastic to see all our guys waving. It was a terrific feeling.
Q: This result clearly demonstrates that you are now very much up to speed in Formula One. What more do you expect for the remainder of the season in terms of performance and results?
TG: My plan was to be on Jarnos level at mid season - especially in qualifying - and to have a couple of good results in the second part of the year, but everything came a bit earlier. We had a couple of good qualifyings and races, though I think they did not show the full potential of the team, and obviously in Budapest everything came together and now we have to keep up the momentum in the team and improve from race weekend to race weekend - and I especially have to improve as well. There is still room for improvement, but I think Budapest showed what the package - and what I - can do, and hopefully we can all be more consistent in that direction.
Q: Your boss John Howett indicated that you had qualifying difficulties in the races prior to Budapest, but that it seems youve now been able to overcome them
TG: Hopefully! Budapest was a good qualifying. When the car is how I need it then I can do the job - and it is important to keep the car in the window like we had in Budapest.
Q: Niki Lauda recently said that he considers you to be the best rookie of the season - against strong competition
TG: Wow, thats quite an honour to hear something like that from a person as experienced as Niki Lauda. He knows what he is talking about and its good to hear things like that!
Q: What difference will the Hungarian result make to your standing within the team?
TG: Its great that I pulled it off in Budapest, especially in my first season to be midway on the podium. I see it as a sort of compensation for all the hard work with my engineers to bring the car in my direction. But other than that we had equal possibilities and will have for the remainder of the season. The podium gave me and the guys around my car a big boost, but I think in the end they all know that the potential is there. We just have to go for it.
Q: You said that your experience from your Champ Car days will help you here in Valencia. In what way?
TG: My time in Champ Car made me accustomed to new tracks because every time I raced in the States it was at circuits Id never been to before. This gives you a special feeling for the essentials of a track. I would say that after two to three laps I know what I have to do and what feedback I have to give to the engineers.
Q: How are you going about learning this new circuit here?
TG: I drove around on the scooter, to see the corners, see what speed they are, where the line is. I played a bit on the computer, but when I walked around I saw that reality is quite different from the virtual world. Whether its a Toyota track I dont know yet. What is good is that it is warm and we have the soft tyres - that is already positive for our car. The question is if we have a good aero package here for the long straights and for the slow corners. I will start the first practice session with a standard set-up and see how the track develops and find a direction based on those findings. The tarmac will be a bit of a question mark for me as it looks quite smooth and might not develop a lot of grip over the weekend. But then again it could be completely different. After the two practice sessions I am sure Ill be wiser.
Q: The possibility of multiple safety-car appearances has been the talk of the paddock. A real threat or just scaremongering?
TG: No, I dont think so. It is not like Monaco. My guess is that it will be possible to clear and clean the track quite easily, should there be accidents, although if somebody crashes on the bridge it could well mean a safety-car phase.
Q: Taking into account driver, car, track and track conditions, what result do you think you can come away with on Sunday?
TG: Well, its hard to say before qualifying. The ideal result would be both cars in Q3 and both cars in the points. Lets wait and see what the weekend has in the wings for us.