Panasonic Toyota Racing had a different driver line-up for the start of Japanese Grand Prix practice at Suzuka today. Timo Glock was suffering from a very heavy cold and fever, allowing third driver Kamui Kobayashi to join Jarno Trulli in practice today. Rain throughout the day meant Formula 1's return to Suzuka after a two-year absence took place on a wet track for both sessions. Kamui, making his first appearance behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car at a Grand Prix weekend, started practice on wet Bridgestone Potenza tyres but a dry spell saw the track begin to dry so he and Jarno continued with intermediate rubber. Kamui acquitted himself extremely well with some competitive lap times in difficult conditions as the team assessed wet-weather set-ups and ran system checks. But the rain returned even stronger in the afternoon, with second practice beginning in a downpour. No running was possible at all for the first 75 minutes but both drivers did complete a late stint to gather information on track conditions. Timo is expected to return to action tomorrow.
"There's not much to say after that. Unfortunately for all our Japanese fans the weather severely limited our running today. I hope we have better weather tomorrow so we can put on a better show for them. The car didn't feel too bad in the wet but it is difficult to comment too much on it because of the conditions."
"I only heard I would be driving today at 8.30 this morning when I was on my way to the circuit; it was a bit of a surprise because even though I knew Timo was sick, I wasn't expecting this. It was a really good opportunity for me but the conditions were pretty bad and I didn't get a lot of laps in the end. I had quite a good run in the first session and I was trying to improve step by step. It was important not to make any mistakes because I wanted to complete as many laps as possible, for me and the team. I wasn't pushing 100% due to the wet conditions but still the lap times were pretty good, especially considering I don't have much experience of this track and haven't driven here for six years. The car feels like it has improved a lot since I last drove it in February. It's difficult to judge in the wet but I was really impressed with how much development has been done in that time."
Dieter Gass, Chief Engineer Race and Test "It was a bit of a wasted day today because the conditions were so bad and the forecast for the rest of the weekend is for better weather so there was no incentive to do much running. Between first and second practice the conditions went from bad to worse and we were only able to do one run at the very end of the afternoon session which was not particularly useful. Considering the bad weather and the fact he has not tested since the beginning of the year, Kamui did extremely well; we are very pleased with his contribution. Timo should be back tomorrow and he will not suffer from missing today's practice - unless the weather forecast changes - because it wasn't possible to do any significant preparation for dry running."