Panasonic Toyota Racing
Australian Grand Prix - Preview
Round: 1 of 17
Venue: Albert Park, Melbourne
Distance: 5.303km (58 laps)
Lap record: 1min 24.125 (2004)
History: The Formula 1 World Championship first visited Australia in 1985 for a race on a street track in Adelaide, which hosted the event until 1996 when Melbourne took over. This year will be the 25th consecutive Australian Grand Prix and the 14th in Melbourne.
Panasonic Toyota Racing heads Down Under this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix on the street circuit at Albert Park; the first round of the 2009 Formula 1 season. The new TF109 car has completed 21 test days and around 10,000km kilometres since its first official test on 19 January, including a four-day test with the Australian Grand Prix aerodynamic package in Barcelona earlier this month. These tests produced very promising results so the team makes the 16,000km journey from Germany to Australia full of optimism. Jarno Trulli made his Formula 1 debut at Albert Park in 1997 while Timo Glock's first race with Toyota was in Melbourne last year, the fifth Grand Prix of his career.
In 2008 neither Jarno nor Timo finished the Australian Grand Prix so a significant improvement is expected this time around.
Jarno Trulli (Car 9): "Melbourne is a great place to visit and the Australian Grand Prix is always good fun. As a Formula 1 driver you really want to race so I am pleased the season is starting and we can get on with the competition. I am totally fired up for this season and I am feeling very positive about our chances. The TF109 is the best Toyota I have driven in pre-season testing; it feels stable and gives the driver confidence but more importantly it seems to be pretty quick, even though it's hard to make too many judgements based on testing. We made a big step last year, proving we can fight for podiums and finish regularly in the top six so I am hoping for another step forward this year. We have more experience now and the team has worked really hard for a long time on the TF109 - we are ready for the season and I am raring to go."
Timo Glock (Car 10): "It's very exciting to be going to the first race this year because the big changes to the technical regulations for 2009 give Toyota a good opportunity to fight at the front. It's really hard to predict because you don't know what other teams are working on in testing but I know our programme and the results we have seen are very encouraging. Testing has gone really well and I have a good feeling for the new car. It's a different emotion to be starting my second year with Toyota compared to 2008 because now I am much more familiar with the team and I feel I can really start the season strongly. Last year it took a few races to find the right direction for me in terms of set-up but I don't expect that to be a problem this season. Australia is anyway one of my favourite places to visit so I can't wait to get to Melbourne and get the season started."
John Howett, President: "This is a big season for our team and we have set ourselves high targets. We exist to win so that is clearly the aim this season and we have every reason to be optimistic after our extremely positive testing results. This is our eighth season in Formula 1 and we have learnt a lot in that time; we are leaner, more experienced and better equipped to succeed. Our drivers are a great asset to us this season; Jarno has huge experience and everyone knows he is tremendously fast while Timo is an explosive young driver who showed his great potential last year. So 2009 is a big opportunity for our team and we are determined to make the most of it. We have been on the podium in the past in Australia and I would like to see us there again this weekend."
Oh What a Feeling! This year the TF109s will feature slogans from local Toyota distributors to support their marketing efforts and to thank them for their continuing support of Panasonic Toyota Racing. This weekend, Toyota in Australia brings 'Oh What a Feeling!' to the race track. The logo can be seen on the rear wing end plates and the driver's head protection of the TF109.