Panasonic Toyota Racing
Brazilian Grand Prix - Preview
Panasonic Toyota Racing brings a positive 2008 season to an end with the 18th and final race of the year, the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. The historic circuit, in a suburb of Sao Paulo, first hosted Formula 1 in 1973, although the current 4.309km lay-out is significantly shorter than the original. An anti-clockwise track, Interlagos is characterised by the flat-out blast through the final sector, uphill through Subida dos Boxes and past the start-finish straight before the iconic Senna S. In the past, the track was notorious for its bumpy surface but recent upgrades have eased the problem. Both Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock have enjoyed successful campaigns and are currently in the top 10 in the World Championship while Toyota arrives in Brazil with its second-highest Formula 1 points total, 52. Everyone in the team intends to add significantly to that haul before the chequered flag falls on the team's seventh season at the pinnacle of motorsport.
Jarno Trulli (Car 11): "It was very frustrating to be eliminated so early in China so I am determined to hit back in Brazil. This has been one of my best seasons, even if I have had some bad luck as well, so I am looking forward to celebrating the final race with another top-six finish. It's disappointing we cannot finish fourth in the Constructors' Championship but it's still possible for me to finish eighth in the Drivers' Championship so I will fight to score as many points as possible to do that. I was in the points there last season even though our car was not as competitive as this year's so I am pretty confident. Interlagos is quite a tough circuit because it is anti-clockwise and it puts a lot of strain on your neck, but I am fit and I've never had a problem. It's quite a challenging circuit in general and I enjoy racing there."
Timo Glock (Car 12): "This has been a very positive first season with Toyota and I want to end it with a strong result in the Brazilian Grand Prix. I feel I have made great progress this year and I've had a lot of fun as well; Toyota is a great team and everyone has been very supportive. It is a long season but I still have plenty of energy and I'm really motivated for this race. I have raced in Formula 1 at Interlagos before, in 2004, and my strongest impression was that it was a very bumpy track which was quite hard work for a driver. Our car wasn't perfect over the bumps in Singapore so I am pleased to hear they have fixed them in Brazil because that will help us. If you look at our pace over the past few races we can be confident of another competitive weekend and I will certainly be looking to add to my points total. At the moment I am 10th in the World Championship and if I can score more points and keep that position, that would be a good achievement in my first full season."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis: "From our side we always perform well at Interlagos, so we go to the Brazilian Grand Prix with high expectations and we are really looking forward to this race. Our car has been competitive at almost every circuit and we expect to be strong again at Interlagos. What is really crucial at Interlagos is tyres. Last year Bridgestone had been aggressive in bringing the soft and super soft tyres, which meant blistering was a big issue. But this time we have soft and medium compounds which should be much better suited. That doesn't mean to say the tyres aren't challenging because it will not be straightforward and there will be some hard work to do. Aside from that, Interlagos is very light on brakes and it is medium-low downforce."
For a video and text feature called On The Right Track, which looks back over Panasonic Toyota Racing's 2008 season and features exclusive interviews with Tadashi Yamashina, John Howett and Richard Cregan, please visit www.toyota-f1-world.com.