Reports have come out today suggesting that Timo Glock has parted ways with Marussia. Having spent the last three years with the Russian-sponsored outfit, it seems the experienced German is ready for new challenges.
Timo has been with Marussia for three years, joining the team in its first year on the grid when it was called Virgin Racing. Over those three years, Timo has had three different teammates in the form of Lucas di Grassi, Jerome D’ambrosio and Charles Pic. The latter has secured a drive with Caterham for 2013, with Timo staying at Marussia.
In this month’s edition of F1 Racing Magazine, Timo said that he is “excited by what this team (Marussia) can achieve in the future; all we need is a bigger budget to allow us to compete on a level playing field”. He will therefore have been very disappointed when the team lost 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, the final money-paying position.
Timo’s enthusiasm for the coming years has been a trademark of his attitude over the course of the three years he has been at Marussia. So, if his enthusiasm is still high, why have these rumors begun to take flight?
One reason might be because of his lack of recognition. Like Heikki Kovalainen at Caterham, Timo has led his team through tough times as both squads seek to elevate themselves firmly into the midfield. A faliure to score a single point over the last three years would have been a source of frustration, but Timo has taken the hardships like a professional and pushed through. Taking all this hard work into consideration, it would be frustrating for these achievements to go unnoticed. The whole F1 paddock respects Timo as both a great driver and a great teammate, one who can push you, but also teach you. The latter attribute has been accentuated because of his three rookie teammates. Despite all of this, TImo hasn’t has an offer from a top team. His years at Toyota seem as if they will end up as his career high.
Other factors like a lack of progress may have fueled Timo’s rumored decision to leave Marussia.
There are rumors that TImo could be taking his talent to DTM, the highly competitive German Touring car series. Many ex-F1 drivers have graced this stage after their F1 careers, including Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Mikka Hakkinen. Indeed, TImo was tweeted the other day by his friend Dirk Muller (BMW DTM driver) saying, ” Many congrats and welcome to the team”.
This seems like a fairly straight-foward hint. Either Timo is now a DTM driver, or he has successfully auditioned to be in some sort of secret club.
While the former seems more likely, I must reiterate that these rumors are just that; rumors. Nothing has been officially confirmed and furthermore, the source of these rumors doesn’t have the best track record in terms of reliability.
Nevertheless, it seems that just two weeks out from pre-season testing, Marussia may be left with just one driver with no F1 experience and painfully empty, second seat.
It is probably too soon to suggest replacements for Timo, but if I must name one, I would suggest Vitaly Petrov. As I have mentioned before, Vitaly is a reliable, consistent driver with proven talent and most important of all, no confirmed drive for 2013. If he gets a seat this season, he will be entering his fourth year in F1. He is now experienced enough to lead a team that is fully established on the grid, albeit lacking a bit of speed. Vitaly knows what it is like to fight at the back of the grid, and he can bring that experience to Marussia to not only help the team, but to help rookie Max Chilton.
This potential Marussia/Petrov partnering also has implications for the F1 paddock as a whole. With plans for a 2014 Russian grand prix firmly established, having a Russian team (Marussia is a Russian supercar maker) on the grid would do wonders for race attendance. However, with Vitaly Petrov in the team, those figures could skyrocket, not to mention the figures of all the sponsorship and publicity it would bring to Marussia.
If Timo Glock really is to leave Marussia, it will be a sad loss to the sport. Timo is not only a great driver, but a great guy. Nevertheless, Marussia’s future could be even brighter without him.