Panasonic Toyota Racing heads east for round five of the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, for the fourth running of the Turkish Grand Prix at the anti-clockwise Istanbul Park. For this season, the trip across the Bosphorus comes three months earlier than usual, meaning the teams can expect conditions to be cooler than the mid-summer heat of previous years. The 5.338km Istanbul Park features several turns modelled on the world's most famous corners and includes the triple-apex Turn Eight, a downhill left-hander which is one of the toughest in Formula 1. Following the successful new package introduced for the last round in Spain, Toyota has more improvements this weekend, with aerodynamic changes made to further optimise the car. A mixed weekend in Spain saw the team's points-scoring run extended to three consecutive races thanks to Jarno Trulli's eighth place but a better result was within reach. Toyota has scored points in two of the three Turkish Grands Prix so far and after an encouraging start to the season, another points haul is expected.
Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "I have always enjoyed myself in Turkey so I am looking forward to this race. I am confident again because we showed in Spain that we are quite strong, but we also saw that we have to perform at our maximum if we are to get into the top six. The fight is so close that small variables can make a big difference to the end result so we must keep pushing hard. The facilities at Istanbul Park are great and the track itself is interesting, even if it is not a personal favourite. It's not the most difficult lay-out but there are one or two tricky corners; Turn Eight is the hardest because it is very quick and it is really three corners in one. We have been competitive on every circuit so far this season so we should expect to be qualifying in the top 10 and scoring points again. I am determined to get another positive result this weekend and I believe we are in a strong position to do that."
Timo Glock (Car 12): "I have good memories of Turkey because I have had good results and exciting races there in GP2. I remember a really close fight with Lewis Hamilton in 2006 and then I won the sprint race last season - I don't think I have finished outside the top four in Turkey so I have a pretty good record to defend! It is a nice track to visit because it is so modern and the facilities are great, but more importantly for a driver it is quite an exciting track to drive. There are some really challenging corners, particularly Turn Eight which is difficult but enjoyable. Our car has looked competitive so far all season and we have more improvements for this weekend, which shows how hard everyone is working. Spain was a difficult weekend for me so I hope in Turkey we can have a bit more luck and fight for my first points with Toyota."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "Turkey is an average circuit for most of the parameters - brakes, downforce and so on. But the special factor you have in Turkey is Turn Eight, the long left-hander. This is a key corner and simply the most demanding of the season, which means it has a lot of consequences in terms of car balance and tyre usage. You can really say that the Istanbul circuit is all about this corner; it is one of the very few circuits where one corner is so significant. You have to make sure your package can handle it and this drives tyre selection. We go to Turkey with optimism because we have seen over the first four races that our car is competitive and able to challenge for the top six. It was unfortunate that a mix-up cost Jarno sixth in Spain but it was encouraging to again be fighting in that position. So the goal for this weekend clearly has to be a strong points finish, hopefully with both cars."