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Interview with Timo Glock

Despite an impressive podium finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix and a strong second half to the year, Timo Glock's 2008 season will always be remembered for what happened on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix

The German admitted that the strong reaction after that event was hard to deal with, but now it is time to focus on the future. heard from Glock on the day that his Toyota team unveiled their new TF109 to hear about post-Brazil life, his targets for the year and what sort of racing we can expect in 2009.

Q. After Honda's withdrawal from F1, were you always confident about the team going on?

Timo Glock: So far we are committed to F1 and this will happen for 2009 and the future as well. The question mark is for sure at the moment not only in F1, it is the whole (worldwide) situation which is difficult at the moment and we have to work on it. It is not easy, but I think Toyota have the possibility to deal with difficult situations. We are a strong company and we will work on it to perform well in 2009, as it will help the future.

Q. Jarno Trulli has talked about his dream of taking a first win this year. Do you share that optimism?

TG: Definitely this is the target from Jarno and from my side. I want in the same way the first win for Toyota this year, and it would be a dream for me this year. We have to think about it as a team as well, when Jarno wins the first race it will be a shame for me as it is my dream as well. It will definitely help to win a race and show a strong performance in 2009.

Q. Is there a lot of pressure on the team to get this win?

TG: The pressure is on every year. Every year you want to succeed and you want to win. It is not easy in F1. We had a good season last year and a good solid 2008 for Toyota.

Now we are working on the next step and it is important in the first couple of tests to show a strong performance. The pressure is there every time, but this is normal in F1. It is a difficult situation for all the teams - the pressure will be higher, and we have to be concentrated and focused on the job.

The positive side is what I saw in the last year. Through the year everybody started to be really motivated that we made steps in the right direction. Everyone is really motivated in Cologne. I am quite positive for 2009m but the question mark is where we are with the new car. We have to wait and see.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your development as a driver last year?

TG: At the beginning of the year I tried to explain that the first races would be difficult and tricky, because the car was definitely not suited for my driving style. We had to sort out a couple of problems and Jarno, with the maturity, had that from the start. It suited his driving style, but as soon as we got on top of it things developed quite well.

In the first tests and races I understood how the car worked, how the team worked, and I got an understanding with the engineers. We came up quite quickly and that is why we could improve from Canada on. In my first season with the team it was important to improve race by race, and that is what we did.

Q. What was your reaction to the news that Honda were pulling out of F1?

TG: I was pretty shocked like everybody else. It came to me the day before (it was announced) when I had a phone call from some friends testing GP2. They asked had I heard rumours about Honda pulling out and I said no. Then the next day I saw it in the press and it was shocking news. It is not an easy situation at the moment; everyone has to pull in the same direction, the teams and the FIA, to survive in F1.

Q. After what happened on the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, does that fire you up to be ahead of Lewis Hamilton in Australia?

TG: This will be the target. Brazil was not an easy race - the couple of days and weeks after race were not easy. In the race we did everything right, we did the right strategy, the tyre choice was correct as we gained a position, but afterwards it was not easy.

There were a lot of people who did not understand what happened on the race track, and a lot of commentators asked why I let Lewis by - which did not make it easy. There was a lot of negative reaction, but the target is to be in front of Lewis. When we are in front of them, we will have a good start in 2009 season.

Q. How much of an advantage was it for you to have tested in Bahrain last year?

TG: It was a good decision by us to go to Bahrain. When you saw the weather report in Jerez, it was cold, windy and wet, and we had pretty stable conditions. It was really nice weather, up to 20 degrees, and we did a lot of mileage for new parts in terms of tyre development to see what direction we had to go and about aero parts for 2009. We also did a lot of mileage for engine and gearbox. We learned a couple of things for 2009 car, and the positive thing was really good weather.

Q. What do you make of the new rules in F1?

TG: The new rules going to slicks are pretty good. I am used to that from GP2 and other categories. I have a better feeling and better feedback with them. The grooved tyres were quite difficult to understand, and they only worked in a pretty small window. With slicks it is much better and we have to wait and see how it will be with the 2009 car. The first impressions are not too bad and hopefully the new rules will make it easier to overtake, which will put on a better show for the fans.

Q. How much will the experience you have help you avoid the problems you suffered at the start of last year?

TG: It will definitely be easier this year. When I remember the first couple of times I was in Cologne, it is much easier and much better now. It helps to get information and speak the engineers. They know now what I need and they can develop and understand in my direction. This will already be a big help for 2009, and that is positive and will help with the car.

Q. Will your slick experience be a help in 2009?

TG: I don't think so. For us as drivers, we know what we have do behind the steering wheel. Going back to slicks is easier than going from slicks to grooves. They are hard to understand. You learn with driving experience in karts and up to GP2, and then suddenly you have to go on grooved tyres, so makes it harder to understand the tyres. Going to a tyre that is easier to understand means no one will have a problem.

Q. Will you be able to recuperate the lost testing time in-season on the Fridays and Saturdays?

TG: This will be tricky because the point is when you go testing in the season you have quicker and more stable track conditions in terms of the track rubbering in. When you go to the race weekend, the track development is quite quick. So you bring new parts and want to test them on the track, but it is changing every 10 to 15 minutes. It is tricky to do a proper development. The point is it is really important to have no problems in testing and no technical problems that stops the running.

Q. But there is not much extra time to do what you normally do on a race weekend?

TG: This is the point. You have a pretty standard Friday normally where you do some setup work, to make the car ready for qualifying and the race. So it will be difficult to develop the car on a race weekend. You can try bits and pieces of aero work but the rest is quite tricky.

Q. Going back to the last lap in Brazil, does it still annoy you that people got upset about it?

TG: No, not now. It is over. We are in 2009 and I am focused on my job. The whole thing has calmed down now with all the fans who were writing negative things about it. It has stopped a bit now.

At the beginning it was not an easy situation. In the race car you do a good job, make the right decision, and it is hard when you get negative press and negative emails from fans. We didn't do a wrong decision. It was tricky to deal with, but now we have a new season. Brazil 2008 was a couple of months ago and now we are focused on 2009.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about KERS?

TG: So far we have not decided what we will do for Australia. We haven't decided for the first race in terms of KERS. It is running in a pretty positive way in the factory and, when we put it the first time in the car it is not decided yet. In the end, on the positive side, we are flexible with it. We can use it or not use it, which is positive. But I am sure we are in the right way at the moment and, when we use it, we have to make sure it is safe and gives us an advantage.

Q. Do you have any concerns about using it?

TG: What other teams are doing is difficult to say but for me, from a personal view, I have a couple of questions about what happens when you have a big crash. There are some big question marks. At the end it would be nice for the driver to have some extra power to be more flexible, for overtaking it will make life easier, but the question mark about whether it is an advantage is not clear. So that is what we have to wait for.

Q. Do you like the look of the new Toyota?

TG: With the first pictures of the cars with the new front wing and rear wing, it was quite difficult to accept. The look of the cars from the last two or three years, they were sorted out with nice detail. Now, when you see the car, you think they are missing something. But in the end our car look pretty nice.

First of all you have to deal with the front wing and rear wing, it looks a bit strange, but when 18-20 cards are on the grid everyone will get used to it. All the cars will look pretty similar as the regulations are pretty tight, so there isn't room for manoeuvre. But it is a bit strange to look at when you see it for the first time.

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