Panasonic Toyota Racing heads for the heat and humidity of Sepang for the Malaysian Grand Prix and round two of the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championship this weekend. After a very disappointing double retirement in the opening round of the season, the team is focused on a strong performance around the fast, sweeping curves of Sepang in what will be the 10th Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang track, which first hosted a Grand Prix in 1999, is one of the longer tracks on the calendar at 5.543km and requires teams to pay special attention to cooling, with air temperatures regularly well over 30C forcing the team to adopt a different cooling package for this race. Sepang holds happy memories for Toyota as it was the scene of the team's first Formula 1 podium and Jarno, who finished second in 2005 to claim that honour, is fired up to claim another result worthy of celebration. Timo enjoys his 26th birthday on Tuesday but, like the rest of the team, he is focused on translating the TF108's undoubted potential into results this weekend.
Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "I like to race in Malaysia but I am not so keen on the climate, with the heat and in particular the humidity which makes it a bit uncomfortable; it is definitely one of the hardest races of the year because of this. Australia was a very hot weekend as well but Malaysia will be much more humid. Sepang is a modern Formula 1 circuit and we have very good facilities there. It is also an unusual and technically challenging circuit to drive; there are some fun corners but in my opinion the best corner is after the hairpin, turn 10, where there is a double left hander. I like this corner, it is a challenge and it's exciting to drive. In Australia we saw that the TF108 certainly has a lot of potential, as we had already seen in testing, but this is a different kind of track to Albert Park so we will have to work hard on Friday to get the best set-up for this race. It was a shame we retired in Australia when I was looking good for a strong points finish but I think we will be quite competitive this weekend so I expect to score points."
Timo Glock (Car 12): "I have never raced at Sepang so this will be my first time. I am looking forward to it as it is an interesting track to drive on, as I found out when I drove in Friday practice in 2004. From what I remember the track is wide but it is also quite challenging for the driver - there are some difficult corners and you have to concentrate to get the best out of your car. It's quite a hard track for the driver but I like driving there. We do not go to any other venue where the heat and humidity are so extreme; I expect this to be one of the toughest races of the season. You need to be extremely fit in Formula 1 anyway so I don't think I will have any problems. The circuit itself is quite an interesting one and it is also pretty technical, with a lot of fast, sweeping corners and also some slow corners. The race in Australia was quite difficult for me and it was unfortunate it ended like that but I am fine and hoping for a better result this weekend."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "The Malaysian Grand Prix is always a challenge for everyone in the team due to the conditions, but we had a taste of that in Australia already. Usually we expect ambient temperatures of between 32 and 36C but the most outstanding temperature is the ground temperature, which is typically around 55C - massively hot for the tyres. It is also difficult for other parts of the package as well because the high temperatures are very demanding on the cooling package and the brakes. In Malaysia we will get a clearer picture of where each team stands because Melbourne is a unique circuit and it is not always clear if the characteristics of the circuit are causing issues or if it is down to the car itself. As this is a back-to-back race, we will have the same spec package as in Australia, unless there are any unexpected problems, but we saw in Melbourne that there is a lot of potential in the TF108, even though we did not achieve the result we expected, so I am confident we have a competitive car and I expect us to score points."