Timo Glock has joked that he 'could get used to podium champagne' in Formula 1 as he bids to build upon the eye-catching progress he made during his rookie season in the top flight in 2008 - by finishing inside the points 'in every race if possible' in 2009.

The young German impressed many in the paddock last year, notching up 25 points en route to tenth position in the final drivers' standings - just behind infinitely more experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli - with the undisputed highlight being the runner-up spot to McLaren-Mercedes' Heikki Kovalainen in the Hungarian Grand Prix, a result achieved on merit after rebuffing the advances of former world champion Kimi Raikkonen in a visibly faster Ferrari over the race's closing stages.

Having got a taste for front-running life in F1, Glock is now keen to experience it more often - and he reckons Toyota's newly-launched TF109 could be just the machine to allow him to do so.

"This year I want to build on my strong first season with Toyota," the 26-year-old stated. "That means continuing to score points regularly - in every race if possible - and finishing on the podium more often. It was great to get a second place in my first full Formula 1 season, but now I want to become a more regular podium finisher - I could get used to podium champagne!

"In terms of my own personal development, I was really happy with how things improved throughout last season. I have a fantastic working relationship with my engineers, my car crew and the whole team and I expect that to continue. As a driver I learnt a lot about the team and the car, and that experience will help me considerably when we are developing the TF109 and working to get the best out of it, with all the rule changes that have been made.

"I learnt a lot about adjusting a Formula 1 car to my driving style, and vice versa. I have always had confidence in my ability and in my speed, but I knew when I joined Toyota that it is not enough to be 'only' a very fast driver to succeed in Formula 1; you must also be very strong technically so you can appreciate the tiny changes we make to the set-up.

"I think it is clear to everyone that I am a quick driver; I scored 25 points and finished in the top ten in the championship last year, ahead of several drivers who have won grands prix. Maybe it was not clear from the outside, but I have also developed a lot from a technical point-of-view, and I believe I am much more capable of finding the perfect set-up and getting the best out of the car.

"Toyota's aim is to win and my aim is to win. I have no doubt we have the potential to achieve this target. It would be amazing to win the first race for Toyota in Formula 1. In 2009 we will fight to win Toyota's first grand prix, and I am sure we have the chance to do it. Since I arrived at Toyota I have been very impressed with the knowledge, the resources and the dedication at this team. Everyone is so professional and focused on succeeding, which gives me great confidence for the future."

Glock was similarly positive when it came to discussing the new cost-cutting measures being implemented within F1, describing the changes as 'a huge opportunity for every team' and hopeful that it could be one that enables Toyota to establish itself as consistently one of the top three or four contenders, a position that - until Renault's late resurgence - it occupied for much of the 2008 campaign.

"I think the big rule change is a huge opportunity for every team," the former GP2 Series Champion reasoned, "because we are all basically starting from scratch. I know the huge potential of our team, so I am confident we will be strong with these new rules.

"Whenever there is such a big change, the advantage of the previous year's top teams is reduced quite a bit. We had a competitive car in 2008, so our first challenge is to ensure we do not lose ground to the teams behind us, but our focus is in front and we want to not only close the gap but also move into the top three or four in the constructors' championship. I am confident we have everything in place to do that.

"It will be really interesting to see if [the new regulations] make overtaking easier. On paper it looks like it should be a bit easier to overtake, but you never know what it will be like on the track until you are in a race situation. I think they have gone in the right direction by reducing downforce and bringing back slicks, so I am excited to see what the cars feel like.

"I am happy that Formula 1 is returning to slick tyres because they are more fun for the driver. I have plenty of experience of slicks from Champ Cars and GP2, so I expect to be able to adapt very quickly.

"Having front wing options while we are driving is an interesting concept, and I am looking forward to seeing what affect it will have. I am sure it will take a little getting used to, and we have to analyse how to make the best use of it. It gives us a lot of different options when it comes to set-up, and in theory it should help the drivers in the race as well when it comes to overtaking.

"I don't think there is room on the steering wheel for any more buttons, though! We already have quite a few adjustments we can make on the steering wheel, changing things like brake balance and engine mapping, so with another option it will be even busier, but I'm sure we will all cope fine."

The man from Lindenfels went on to explain how he feels completely comfortable at Toyota, and is happy to be continuing to work alongside Trulli, with whom he struck up both a strong working relationship and also friendship during his maiden campaign last year - the duo forming a partnership that helped to keep Toyota up at the sharp end of competition season-long.

"I have a great relationship with Jarno," he underlined, "so I'm very pleased we will be team-mates again this year. He's a great guy and a very talented driver so we have fun together, but also I think we complement each other well.

"It is really interesting to work alongside someone with all his experience in Formula 1, and I have learned a lot from him - how he develops a car, how he looks for the best set-up. Last year we worked together successfully to develop the TF108 throughout the season and we got some impressive results; I am sure we can do the same this year.

"I have felt totally at home with the team pretty much since my first day. I have a great relationship with my race engineer, Francesco Nenci, and everyone else who works on my car, not to mention the rest of the team. It has been very easy to become completely integrated into the team, and it is fun to work with them.

"There are some great guys here who are pushing really hard to get success and they know I am fighting to the maximum to give it to them. We really are a close team, and that's very rewarding."

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment