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.