Glock: F1 departure “has nothing to do with sport”

2013 F1 season

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Timo Glock, Marussia, Interlagos, 2012Timo Glock’s F1 future is in doubt following the announcement of his departure from Marussia.

Mark Webber sympathised with him on Twitter after the news broke, saying: “You’ll be missed matey on the drivers parade and drivers meetings chats. One of the good guys, and never went to your head.”

“That’s the way of F1 at the moment,” Glock replied. “Hope it will change again soon because like this it has nothing to do with sport.”

“Now it’s up to you guys to make things clear in drivers’ meetings,” he added with a smile.

After three years of plugging away at the back of the field with Marussia (previously Virgin), it’s easy to forget the promise Glock showed early in his career – which at one stage led to two manufacturers fighting over his services.

Toyota signed him to drive for them in 2008 after the Contracts Recognition Board ruled in their favour in a dispute with BMW, who Glock had been a test driver for.

Glock had already impressed by scoring points on his debut for Jordan in Canada in 2004 while substituting for Giorgio Pantano. He returned to F1 via Champ Cars, where he came close to winning at the same circuit, then clinched the GP2 championship in 2007.

Timo Glock, Toyota, Montreal, 2008In his first full year of F1 he impressed again in Montreal, leading a race for the first time and finishing fourth.

Following a heavy crash in the German Grand Prix he bounced back to score his first podium finish in Hungary. Running third in the closing stages, the late retirement of Felipe Massa elevated him to second.

He clicked with the new Singapore circuit immediately, finishing fourth. And he inadvertently played a role in the dramatic season finale in Brazil by electing to stay on dry-weather tyres as rain fell late in the race.

Glock was famously passed by Lewis Hamilton on the final lap. But despite that his gamble had paid off as he finished a place higher than he had been before the rain arrived.

In 2009 the pressure was on Toyota to deliver as their TF109 proved competitive at the beginning of the year. Glock should have started from the second row in Australia but a technical infringement saw both cars sent to the back – from where he recovered to fourth behind team mate Jarno Trulli.

At the soaked Malaysian Grand Prix he was running second when the race was red-flagged, then relegated to third behind Nick Heidfeld under the ‘count back’ rule.

After Bahrain, when both cars start on the front row but slipped back with a poor choice of strategy, it looked like his best hopes for a result had past. But he returned to the podium at Singapore again with an excellent second place.

But that turned out to be his final start for Toyota – and his last at the sharp end of the field. Glock was injured during qualifying for the next race at Suzuka and missed the end of the season. He had more points on the board than Trulli at the time.

Toyota pulled the plug on its F1 programme as the financial slump bit, leaving Glock to consider approaches from Renault and Manor Motorsport. As with most decisions, this was a much easier one to make with the benefit of hindsight.

Glock had first-hand experience of the suddenness with which a car manufacturer could cancel its F1 plans. And in late 2009, with the revelation of ‘Crashgate’ ringing in everyone’s ears, many questioned the future of the Enstone team.

Timo Glock, Virgin, Montreal, 2010As events transpired, Genii bought Renault’s team and had a competitive car on its hands in 2010. But Glock wasn’t the one driving it.

He had gone to Mano, who had been taken over by Virgin and discovered that the cost-capped regulations they hoped to enter under in 2010 were not going to happen. Glock found himself driving a car which, in the opening races, couldn’t be driven flat out or it would run out of fuel.

He’s been treading water at or near the back of the F1 field ever since. There have been flashes of promise, particularly at Singapore, but inevitably it’s harder for a driver to stand out when driving a car that’s several seconds off the pace.

Without wishing to judge before all the facts are in, it looks very much as though Glock is the latest victim of F1’s failure to get costs under control.

That Marussia need require a more lucrative occupant for their second seat – but potentially a less skilled one – was clearly implied by today’s statement. Under the circumstances it is hardly unreasonable of Glock to point out it does not reflect well on the sport.

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Images ?? Marussia, Toyota F1 World, Virgin

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Glock: F1 departure “has nothing to do with sport””

  1. I’m guessing Petrov is the big reason of this. He recently told that he had brighter chance to stay in F1 ,and we all translate it as more money from Russia. He did the same thing last year with Jarnos place..

    1. Well… I’m not a fan of Glock, but he is definitely a better driver than Petrov.

      It would be a shame to see Vitaly for another season.

    2. The team has made it pretty clear that they wanted to keep Glock, but that it was not possible due to the economic climate. They were pretty straight-forward about it, too, so I think Glock was let go because Marussia could not afford to keep him, not because someone bought him out of his contract.

    3. @thejudge Well it wasn’t Petrov, and it wasn’t Razia either!

  2. Sad about Timo, he is one of thw one I like as a driver and as a person. Yes is does not reflect well in to the sport, but should the sport really have a cap? Not other sport has one, and in a certain way is the team´s job to get sponsorship. Is true a team can use the image of a driver to atract money like Lotus is doing with Kimi; but it shouldn´t ask a driver to bring money himself.

    I´m not gonna like any driver who is paying this year, so Max Chilton you have being warned…

    1. And I’m sure they’ll just be so cut up that you don’t like them. ‘woe is me’ they’ll say, clenching their fists and howling to the sky.

    2. @celetse Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

      1. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

        LOL! I was about to make a similar point, but much less succinctly.

        I really can’t blame any driver who has the means to get a drive and finds a team willing to give it to him. In fact, he’d probably be crazy not to take the opportunity! There are countless drivers who will never have that chance.

        The alternative for Marussia was, I presume, not to keep Glock; the alternative was more likely to no longer have a team. When the sport gets so expensive that teams have to make choices like this, breaking contracts with well respected drivers, just to stay in it, something’s gone very wrong…

    3. Yes is does not reflect well in to the sport, but should the sport really have a cap? Not other sport has one, and in a certain way is the team´s job to get sponsorship

      Every major American sport leauge has a salary cap. It is also easy to say teams should get sponsorship but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a lot easier to get sponsorship for one person than for a whole team. How often have you seen entire F1 teams in ads compared to single drivers?

      1. @klon

        Every major American sport leauge has a salary cap.

        A salary cap and a budget cap are very different things, though. For a manufacturer team like Ferrari or Mercedes, how do you distinguish between expenditure on development for a road car and development for an F1 car? And how do you limit expenditure on on engines when different engine manufacturers supply different numbers of teams? And what do you do with teams who have technology sharing arrangements, like McLaren and Force India?

        The budget cap idea has been floating around for a few years now and I can’t help but think that if there we realistic solutions to these problems we’d have them by now.

      2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        22nd January 2013, 16:57

        That reminds me of how very major American sport league also uses a draft system to regulate which teams receive rookies. Which got me thinking: how feasible would an F1 draft be?

    4. Not other sport has one

      Except every major sports league in North America. Hockey, football, baseball, basketball. All of them have salary caps.

      And really, a professional team sports team not that different than an F1 team. Instead of spending millions on developing different aspects of a car, they spend millions on athletes, but each of those athletes is just another component, just like a car. They work under a cap, and so can an F1 team.

      You want an ace pitcher or a hot-handed goalie? Sure, but that just means you’ve got less to spend on your outfielders or your defense-men. And that helps create some parity between teams in the league. Team dynasties can still exist, certainly, but that’s through development of that talent and through making smart drafts and hires, rather than just filling the team with the best of the best.

      And I think those measures make for a better sport because there’s at least some measure of parity across the league. Yes, there are still teams who will always be favorites, and teams that always have a little more money, but it’s orders of magnitude closer than what we see in F1.

      If F1 could effectively convince teams to a budget cap, it would bring some parity to the sport. And we all saw this year what great races we get when the field is closer together.

      Now, someone will always argue that F1 should be balls-to-the-wall no-expense-spared racing, but then you’ll just end up with the team with the most money winning every year. And nobody likes the Yankees.

  3. Just realised, that with Glock, Karthikeyan (and Schumacher) all not racing in 2013, this is the first season since Jordan left the sport that nobody on the grid will have driven for them at some point in their career.

    1. Same goes for Toyota

      1. Di Resta?

        1. Di Resta (according to Wikipedia) tested for McLaren before getting the Force India drive.

    2. Jordan is so far away now, it’s like looking into history. But it’s amazing to think, I grew up watching them race.

    3. @pjtierney interesting point. Minardi have been gone for the same length of time but have 2 former drivers still in the sport (and racing at the front end too).

  4. A quality driver and a nice guy.Glock will be missed. I went to Hockenheim in 2010 and I will be going to Spa this year. From 2010, there will be no Schumacher,Kubica,Glock,Kobayashi,Barrichello and maybe Kovalainen. All quality drivers missing for one reason or another. Bernie needs to sort it out and not look after his own pocket.

    1. Interestinger and interestinger

  5. Well, Glock will forever be remembered as That-Guy-Who-Was-Passed-By-Hamilton-On-The-Last-Lap-Of-Brazil-2008. Which itself is still better than being remembered for nothing at all — eg. forgotten.

  6. I think we and Glock needn’t hold our breath for things to change soon. Nor is this the way it is ‘at the moment.’ It has been this way for at least 5 years now. It is in fact a lot to do with sport…money I mean…and while it may shed F1 in a bad light, it would seem BE, or is it the teams, only care so much.

    By that I mean, while capping budgets has been a hot topic for a while now, getting the teams to agree as to where and how to cap budgets has been the hard part. And all seem to agree that policing the capping of budgets can be tricky too.

    This reminds me of the lockout that the NHL just got over. Millionaires fighting billionaires for a piece of the pie. There are salary caps to consider, and lengths of contracts as well. Just as in Major League Baseball there are salary caps, and there are also teams like the New York Yankees that have so much money they can afford to go over the salary cap by buying an amazing roster of players, and they can also afford to pay the fine for blowing over the salary cap. Even that carries no guarantees of the World Series though, as ultimately the wheels fell off and they lost the World Series embarassingly last year.

    Personally I want to see the best drivers out there in F1, not the ones that have a ride because they have money, as I consider that short term thinking. What good is that relative handful of millions if it is going to be squandered by a driver who is less talented than some, or less able to help the team progress the car. That’s the way I think of it at least. But then I also think that hiring a driver to be subservient on a top team robs the viewing audience of the very show they are paying for. Ultimately, F1 is going to run itself the way it sees fit, no matter what the fans and the drivers think.

  7. It’s rather sad. I’ve always liked Timo, and he was always a nice driver to watch, who seemed to thrive on some of the more flowing circuits of the calendar (and Montreal). By no means was he one of the best drivers, but certainly one of, if not, the most liked in the paddock throughout 2012. I simply cannot think of a person who didn’t like him.

    However, this is Formula One. Formula One, as some people tend to forget, is not just a sport, but is a business as well. And money has ALWAYS been a factor in Formula One, and it always will be. Now, like most people, would rather see all seats be given based on talent alone, but this has never been the case. Notably it appears more and more ‘pay drivers’ appear when the global economic state is a bit of a mess, but that is just how it is. Formula One has always been like this. Yes, it’s a massive shame, but Timo has had a good run, and I’m not ruling out a return in 2014 or in the event of a driver having to miss a race.

    But just think about it, not all ‘pay drivers’ (should Marussia hire another one) have been useless. The FIA cannot just let anybody drive an F1 car for starters, and there’s been more and more drivers, with money, coming through and scoring high results, Grosjean, Petrov, Maldonado and Perez have all scored podiums over the last 2 years.

    I do really hope Timo enjoys wherever he ends up (likely to be DTM) and he’ll be missed in the F1 paddock, but if Marussia cannot afford to keep him, there’s no other option but to drop him unfortunately.

    1. You nailed it buddy. People talk of current pay drivers as if they were moving roundabouts or just plain dangerous. Nowadays even pay drivers are quite good, the skill standard is in an all time high in my opinion. Could it be better? I think so, we could have a grid full with drivers based purely on talent. But that would be ignoring the realities of Formula 1 economics, Formunomics if you may :D

      1. @jp1987 Formunomics? That’s a brilliant term!

        1. @craig-o I was inspired by Freakonomics :D But seriously, the way Bernie handles it Formunomics should be a subject worth of studying on its own :D

  8. I blame Red Bull.

    Top teams should understand that by not even attempting to make the RRA work, they are effectively killing the ‘sport’ that allows them to abstain in the first place – thus jeopardising their own staff and long-term survival even more.

    1. In fairness to Red Bull, I think all the top teams are probably willing to keep mum on this topic as long as they have money, are a top ‘have’ team, and are making it work for themselves. Would they like to still win, only with less money spent? I’m sure.

      But I don’t know that they haven’t at least attempted to get involved in cost cutting measures. But big questions have come up as to how and where to cap budgets, and how to police those. Can Red Bull trust that Ferrari (just as an example) isn’t funneling money through some other fund, not covered by the agreements, and therefore are actually breaking the ‘code’ behind closed doors? It’s not an easy issue to tackle. And as long as Ferrari is getting extra money’s from F1 just for being Ferrari (assmuming that is still going on) then that complicates matters further.

      1. @robbie I agree with your comment, the truth is not an easy solution to the money situation on F1.

    2. @john-h Red Bull are in the business of looking after Red Bull, why would they care about anyone else?

      1. @andrewtanner It’s classic game theory. As individuals, in the short term it is always best to defect… but long term, the best pay off for all (and hence F1) is to collaborate. In reality, somewhere in between works out, because teams come and go… But the RRA was point blank rejected instead of being massaged to suit, and now we have this, which long term, is not in Red Bull’s interest.

        1. @john-h I guess 6 world titles in 3 years suits them just fine at the moment! I know what you mean though perhaps if they weren’t the ones with most to lose they would be more ammenable to adapt.

    3. @john-h – ah yes but haven’t Ferrari also gone against the RRA – I was under the impression that only the FOTA members were in support of the RRA? I would hardly blame Red Bull though for protecting their interests and what’s more I also don’t think a simple budget cap would work. Organisations like RBT are specifically set-up to “hide” costs and exploit loopholes and of course the Manufacturers can hide their costs by saying that money is being invested in the road car department when it is actually used for F1. And anyway, I don’t think that it will affect Red Bull in the long term for as long as they are in the sport and other teams are, F1 will survive and they can continue their good form.

      This is not to say I think costs shouldn’t be controlled as for sure I do (I happen to be a fan of Caterham) but the RRA may not be the solution.

      1. @vettel1

        Two teams out of twelve didn’t sign the RRA letter in March 2012, which set out a potential FIA oversight of resources: Red Bull and Toro Rosso. That letter was meant to be a buiilding block for further discussions, something that every other ‘team’ wanted in on for the good of the sport, both independent and manufacturer teams.

        I know Ferrari left FOTA, and I know the RRA would be very very difficult get working, but to rule yourself out without even giving it a chance is what grates with me.

    4. I blame Red Bull.

      Good point @john-h.

      Because contrary to popular belief, it’s actually Red Bull which sets the rules in the sport.

      Because when Max Mosley tried to introduce a budget cap in 2009, it was only Red Bull which threatened to form a breakaway series (of one!).

      Because despite the rumours that they each spend hundreds of millions of dollars per season, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus are actually run on the proceeds of an end of year whip around amongst the team mechanics (have you been to the McLaren Technology Centre? Can you believe the amount of chicken wire in that place?)

      Because Pat Symonds publicly stated his goal was to beat Red Bull in 3 years.

      Because Helmut Marko told Bernie not to offer Marussia participation in the next Concorde Agreement.

      Because that was actually Dietrich Mateschitz in disguise in the Marussia at Brazil last year, and he let Petrov pass him on purpose.

      And lastly, Red Bull created the GFC.

      1. @tdog

        Ok, I’ve gone a little OTT again, and yes your sarcasm is duly noted… but, as my comment above, to not even give the RRA a chance of working (when the other ’10’ teams wanted to keep it alive, at least in some capacity) to me was putting self-interest too far ahead of the greater good.

        I’m no spokesman for the FIA and Ferrari here, I think I’ve slated them enough on this site before… but it seems like only one team didn’t want to have anything to do with any kind of RRA, which in my opinion harms F1’s long-term health – something we are just starting to see now.

        1. @john-h And my sarcasm levels were a little OTT as well, apologies. I do however get frustrated at the constant blame directed to one team for all the ills of F1.

          Incidentally, Red Bull didn’t oppose an RRA per se, they said they wouldn’t sign up to an RRA which restricted resource inputs to chassis development but not engine development (to the advantage of teams like Ferrari and Mercedes). Which will make 2014 interesting when (as I understand it) an RRA can be imposed by majority agreement among the teams rather than by unanimity as was required for an effective 2013 RRA.

          I think the real issue is not simply what teams at the top spend, but what the teams at the bottom are forced to spend. The smaller teams weren’t hitting RRA limits anyway. The real threat to their existence is what the regulations effectively force them to spend simply to turn up each year – that is the life and death issue which must be addressed.

          That’s why (among other reasons) I am so concerned about the 2014 engines, and why I repeatedly rant about them. The smaller teams will have a significant and unavoidable spending increase forced upon them, and they’ll only meet these costs by cutting elsewhere. The gap to the top teams is only going to get bigger unless something drastic is done.

          1. The real threat to their existence is what the regulations effectively force them to spend simply to turn up each year – that is the life and death issue which must be addressed.

            Yes, I think you’re probably right on this one, and your worries over 2014. Nice comment @tdog

  9. This is such a shame! :(

  10. Bit of a pity most people’s clearest memory of Glock will be that last lap in Interlagos.

  11. thatscienceguy
    21st January 2013, 22:59

    Shame to see another Irish driver drop out of the sport. Farewell, Tim O’Glock

  12. You mentioned the Contracts Recognition Board – does this still exist, and can it take any action here to protect a driver who has a contract? Sounds like this has been sorted (relatively) amicably, but it’s worth worth asking.

  13. Good Article. Really highlighted..well, the highlights :)

  14. Without wishing to judge before all the facts are in, it looks very much as though Glock is the latest victim of F1′s failure to get costs under control

    The Editor could just as easily have written that it was a failure of Marussia to attract sufficient corporate backing. His bias against the well-funded teams is well-known.

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