Timo Glock has insisted that he is confident of still being a part of the grand prix grid in 2010, despite speculation that Toyota is set to pull the plug on its F1 project come season's end – thereby leaving him without a drive for next year.
The Japanese manufacturer is not due to commit to the top flight definitively – or otherwise – until November, when the proposed budget for the F1 operation will be either ratified or else refused by the main board. In the meantime, there is uncertainty regarding the fate of both Glock and team-mate Jarno Trulli, who have raced for the Cologne-based outfit since respectively 2007 and 2004.
Toyota has an option on Glock's services for 2010, but with no decision about its future at the highest level looking imminent – and suggestions that both drivers have been told to look elsewhere for seats as the team's ongoing participation cannot be guaranteed [see separate story – click here
] – the young German admits that he is keeping his options open and is in discussions with a number of different suitors.
“The teams are looking around, the drivers are looking around, so it's quite an interesting period in F1,” he told Reuters
. “A podium like we had in Singapore does show what I can do. The market is a bit full at the moment with drivers, but my possibilities are quite good.”
The traditional annual driver merry-go-round is not expected to shift into top gear until double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso's much-anticipated switch from Renault to Ferrari is finally officially confirmed – possibly even before this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix [see separate story – http://www.crash.net/f1/news/152840/1/alonso_to_ferrari_announced_this_week.html] – following which the remaining pieces of the jigsaw are all tipped to slot into place, as drivers like Glock, Trulli, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello and Heikki Kovalainen all grab their seats.
“We haven't closed the door on Timo, and he hasn't closed the door on us,” revealed a Toyota Motor Sport spokesman. “He remains a possibility for 2010, as does Jarno.”
“It doesn't mean that the partnership is at an end,” added another spokesperson, when asked by German news agency dpa
why the team has yet to take up its option on the man from Lindenfels for next year. “The door is not closed.”
In the meantime, Glock has admitted that it would be his 'dream' to reward Toyota with a popular home victory in front of the throngs of adoring partisan supporters expected to flood through the entrance gates at Suzuka – even if he acknowledges that a second successive rostrum finish is perhaps more of a realistic target for now, unless the heavens open...
“I love the rain,” the 27-year-old underlined, “and I've always been quick in wet conditions, [when] it's down to the driver. To be on the podium in Singapore was great, to be on the podium in Malaysia was great, but to be on the podium at Suzuka or win the Japanese Grand Prix for Toyota would be a mega-dream. I would stay four or five days longer in Japan having a party with the Toyota people!
“I don't know if that will be possible this year, so my target for the weekend is to fight for the podium; if I can stand on the podium in front of the Toyota fans, that would be perfect.”
Trulli, meanwhile, is currently recovering from a fever that affected his performance in Singapore last weekend, when the experienced Italian – something of a street circuit specialist – was uncharacteristically off the pace, qualifying just 15th and taking the chequered flag more than a minute behind the sister TF109 in twelfth place on race day. After the 35-year-old missed a pre-Suzuka media event to 'take it easy', Toyota team principal Tadashi Yamashina has assured that the Pescara native will be fit and ready to compete come Friday.