With Timo Glock feeling unwell on Friday at Suzuka, Toyota test and reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi made his Formula One debut in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. The team expect Glock back behind the wheel of the TF109 in time for Saturday practice, but in the meantime it was
a chance to evaluate GP2 regular Kobayashi in tricky 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,” the Japanese racer said.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Kobayashi completed 23 laps in total and was 12th fastest at the end of the afternoon session.
"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,” admitted chief engineer Dieter Gass. “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."