Timo Glock has slated Formula 1's rule-makers after team-mate Jarno Trulli was demoted from third place in the 2009 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix today – marking Toyota's third penalty of the Melbourne weekend.
Both Toyota drivers were disqualified from qualifying on Saturday over a rear wing infringement that Glock argued gained the Cologne-based outfit no on-track advantage, and after beginning the race from the pit-lane – rather than the respective sixth (Glock) and eighth (Trulli) positions where they had been due to line up – the duo charged their way up the order, with the Italian in particular the architect of a superb performance that saw him profit from Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica's late-race contre-temps
to steal the final rostrum position. And then it was taken away from him again.
After making the most of a short first stint on Bridgestone's unloved super-soft rubber and a long final stint on the more consistent medium compound, Trulli was elevated to third place by the BMW-Red Bull collision, but a slight 'off' under the subsequent safety period car saw him cede the spot to the following Lewis Hamilton – who he then re-passed when the Briton 'suddenly slowed down'. The FIA, however, took a dim view of the former Monaco Grand Prix winner's actions and handed him a 25-second penalty – dropping him all the way down outside of the points to ninth place in the final order.
“I can't say how disappointed I am to finish third but have the result questioned,” the 34-year-old remarked afterwards. “When the safety car came out towards the end of the race Lewis Hamilton passed me, but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do.
“I would still like to say thank you to the team who have made a huge effort. The fact we were able to fight for the podium despite starting from the pit-lane is down to them.”
Trulli's misfortune ironically promoted Glock a place from fifth to fourth, but the 2007 GP2 Series Champion declared himself angry that Toyota seemed to have been the victim of a witch-hunt over the course of the weekend – even if he was encouraged by the team's performance in coming from so far back to the front of the pack, having been the only driver to find any real pace on Bridgestone's super-soft tyres when he pulled off a number of impressive around-the-outside overtaking manoeuvres in the closing stages.
“I don't want to talk about protests again,” he insisted. “We've had that the whole bloody weekend and I'm losing a little bit of confidence in Formula 1, because this is not the way to go. I don't know why that happens every time. I am happy to finish fourth, but obviously it is really disappointing for Jarno.
“For us to be fighting at the front like that after we started from the pit-lane really shows the strong performance we have – this is proof that our car has real pace. It was a good race for me and I have to say thanks to the team for their hard work in achieving this.
“My mechanics had two days where they worked the whole night. They had to work from Friday to Saturday because the car was just undriveable on Friday – we tried to sort it out and the guys did a perfect job – and then last night as well with the rear wing, and now this is the result. We both started from the pit-lane and we showed really good pace.