Yesterday’s announcement by the Marussia F1 Team came as a shock to many, Timo Glock, former GP2 champion, the man who turned down a seat at Renault F1 (now Lotus F1) to help build the new Russian-owned Marussia team, was out of a job.
Money is tight in Formula One, but to see such a well-respected and accomplished driver exit stage-left tells you all you need to know about the (ill)health of the world’s top motorsport category.
John Booth, Team Principal of the Marussia F1 Team, commented: “Timo has made a very significant contribution to our Team over the past three seasons, helping us to develop our package to the point where, for a large proportion of the 2012 season, we were holding 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship. The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future. Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula 1 teams included.”
So, farewell Timo, who most people expect will be replaced by Russian driver Vitaly Petrov, who could provide a welcome boost to Marussia’s coffers given that the inaugural Russian GP is scheduled for 2014. Petrov is a talented driver, perhaps not on the same level as Glock, but it would be unfair to call him a paid-driver.
Meanwhile Glock has other plans and BMW were quick to confirm these plans in a press release this morning.
Glock hinted at the news yesterday, saying “Although it is not the path I expected to be taking, I am in fact very excited about what the future holds in terms of my own career and I hope to comment on that very soon.”
And BMW confirmed that DTM had opened its arms and was prepared to welcome one of Germany’s fastest drivers into its national tin-top series.
“Timo Glock will take to the track at the wheel of the BMW M3 DTM this week. The German driver is in Valencia for BMW Motorsport’s first DTM tests of the year, during which he will familiarise himself with the car and be put through his paces at the “Circuit de la Comunitat”.
BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt, went on to say “We are pleased to be able to offer Timo Glock the opportunity to get to know our BMW M3 DTM in Valencia, Timo has demonstrated his driving ability over many years, particularly in Formula One. It is made all the nicer by the fact that he is, to a certain degree, returning to his roots in testing for BMW Motorsport.”
“I have fond memories of my time with BMW Motorsport and am very excited about testing the BMW M3 DTM,” said Glock. “Furthermore, I am bound to see a few familiar faces in Valencia from my previous time with BMW. I am really looking forward to it.”
Glock acquired the necessary tools for his successful career in single-seater racing while competing in the Formula BMW series in 2000 and 2001. The German driver won the Formula BMW ADAC Championship in 2001. Three years later he made his first appearance in Formula One, when he made his debut for the Jordan team at the Canadian Grand Prix.
In 2007, Glock returned to the BMW Motorsport fold. Together with three-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, Glock was a test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. He also took the title in the GP2 Championship in the same year. Since 2008 he has lined up as a regular driver for various teams in Formula One, and currently has 91 races to his name.
Although the talk at this stage is of a ‘test’ with BMW, it seems likely (money permitting) that Glock will compete for the full 2013 season in DTM – he’s fit, he’s fast and has the backing of his existing sponsors. BMW ran six cars in its inaugural DTM season last year, winning the manufacturers, teams and drivers championships despite both Mercedes and Audi running an eight-car squad.