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Biography

SEASON INFORMATION
15/08/2013

 

Biography

 
When, on 19 January 2004, Jordan announced that German youngster Timo Glock was to test the EJ13 at Barcelona the following day, there were widespread cries of "who?"

Although the German had finished joint fifth in the Formula 3 Euro Series, little else was known about him.

Timo, as is so often the case, began his motorsport career in karts, though at 15 he was a relative later-starter compared to his contemporaries.

Having won several championships he progressed to single-seaters and the prestigious BMW Formula ADAC Series, finishing third in 2000 before winning the title in 2001.

In 2002 he progressed to the German F3 Championship, winning the 'rookie of the year' title, before switching to the Formula 3 Euro Series for 2003. In Euro F3 he raced against Christian Klien, who has subsequently landed a race seat with Jaguar, and championship winner Ryan Briscoe, who in 2004 would work as test driver for Toyota.

Following a number of successful tests, Timo was appointed Jordan's third driver on Thursday February 19, exactly one month after his initial test had been announced.

In Canada, with Giorgio Pantano having failed to come up with the necessary funding, Timo was given his F1 (race) baptism. The German rose to the occasion and immediately joined that elite group of drivers who have scored points in their maiden Grand Prix, having brought the EJ14 home seventh.

When Pantano's money and luck ran out in Italy, Timo was brought in for the final three races of 2004, the German finishing fifteenth in all three.

In 2005 he moved to America, finishing eighth overall in Champ Car and taking the prestigious 'Rookie of the Year' award.

Desperate to get back into F1 however, Timo returned to Europe in 2006, contesting the GP2 series with BCN Competicion. A mid-season switch to iSport proved highly successful, with victories at Magny Cours and Hockenheim enough to secure the German fourth overall.

In 2007, in addition to continuing with iSport in GP2, Timo was handed the role of test driver at BMW, though it was clear that Sebastian Vettel was the Bavarian team's 'favourite son'.

However, the new test regulations, together with the presence of Vettel, meant that Glock carried out precious little testing for BMW, though this did at least allow him to concentrate on his GP2 plans.

With GP2 having thrown up a number of obvious talents since its inception, most notably Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, all eyes were on the series in 2007 to see who might be destined for F1 glory in the years ahead. Although Ron Dennis was a little unfair in saying that there were no outstanding talents, the fact is that nobody really stood head and shoulders above the opposition.

Timo took the title, but in all honesty there were times when he appeared to make a meal of it. Then again, he was the best of a not particularly inspiring bunch, and was the deserving winner.

With Vettel having moved to Toro Rosso, the result of a long-term contract with Red Bull, Timo had the obvious option of taking the third driver role at BMW. However, this would have probably seen him forced to defend his GP2 title, an option which would obviously be seen as moving backwards. Consequently, when Toyota offered him the seat vacated by fellow-German Ralf Schumacher, Timo was quick to sign.

With a reputation as a team that doesn't waste any time when it comes to dumping drivers perceived as not performing - though it always appeared to give Ralf Schumacher leeway - all eyes were on Timo, and indeed, his Italian teammate, Jarno Trulli.

At his second bite of the F1 cherry, Timo gave a good account of himself, and it is fair to say that his place in the top half of the World Championship was well deserved.

His season didn't get off to the best of starts, the German crashing heavily in Melbourne. There followed a string of so-so performances both in qualifying and the races, performances that suggested the German had learned little since his previous excursion into F1.

Then came Canada, where a determined drive saw the 26-year-old take fourth, holding off an equally determined Felipe Massa.

In Germany, Timo suffered a rear suspension failure which saw him crash heavily into the pit wall. Hospitalised overnight as a precautionary measure, he was back in action two weeks later in Hungary, qualifying fifth and finishing a superb second, thereby giving Toyota its best ever result.

Having finished fourth in Singapore, he went on to finish seventh in China, but it is his race in Brazil which will always be remembered.

With just a few laps remaining, and with the rain falling heavily, Timo opted to remain on dry tyres while most of his rivals switched to wets. As the race continued it looked as though the German and his team had made the right decision. However, this was of little interest to the majority of fans watching the race, for the real interest was the fight between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton for the World Championship title.

While Massa was romping home to a sensational victory, Hamilton needed to finish fifth in order to win the title. However, starting the final lap, Glock was fourth ahead of Vettel and the Englishman.

As the rain began to fall harder, Vettel passed his fellow German, but Timo appeared to have fifth place in the bag. In the final corner, however, the Englishman passed the Toyota, thereby taking the title in the most dramatic circumstances.

A German in a Japanese car became the darling of the British media, sparking all manner of conspiracy theories however, the fact is that nobody could have been expected to keep that car on track in those conditions on dry tyres. Nonetheless, it is for that last corner incident that Timo will always be remembered.

Retaining the German for 2009 was a no-brainer and it was widely thought the new rules would continue to bring out the best in the likeable driver. Furthermore, the fact that the highly talented Kamui Kobayashi was waiting in the wings would give Timo an added incentive to perform.

At the start of the season Toyota appeared to have got it right, the Cologne-based team one of only three running the controversial double diffuser, indeed the entire TF109 aero package looked the business.

However, while the TF109 was widely thought to be one of the quickest out there it was inconsistent and as the season progressed the team appeared to lose its way. Much like the Brawn and Ferrari, the Toyota was highly sensitive in terms of its tyres, when the TF109 got its Bridgestones working all was fine, when it didn't the car was a dog.

Having qualified sixth in Melbourne, Jarno and his teammate were subsequently excluded from the qualifying results after their rear wings were adjudged to be too flexible and therefore illegal. However, a determined drive next day which saw several brave moves - one of them on Alonso - saw Timo finish fifth however, as a result of Lewis Hamilton's 'Lie-gate' silliness the German was promoted to fourth.

There was another inspired drive in Malaysia where, having started from third on the grid, Timo finished third, the German making a call for wet tyres at precisely the right moment. Subsequently, following points finishes in China and Bahrain, Timo experienced a bit of a lean spell, other than a couple more points finishes in Turkey and Hungary.

In Singapore, Timo qualified seventh, one of just four occasions when he out-qualified his teammate. A mature drive, which saw the German heading for an almost certain third position, benefited the 27-year-old when Nico Rosberg was given a drive-through for crossing the white line at the end of the pitlane.

With the TF109 looking well suited to the fast sweeps of Suzuka much was expected of Timo at Toyota's home race. Unfortunately a heavy crash during qualifying brought his weekend indeed, his season, to an early end.

Timo missed the races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Toyota claiming that the German had incurred a cracked vertebra. However, his attendance at both races left many feeling that he had been deliberately sidelined in favour of Kobayashi.

Following Toyota's withdrawal from F1 just three days after the end of the season, Timo was linked with a number of teams most notably Renault. However, on December 15, the German was confirmed as number one driver at Manor Grand Prix, one of three new teams to enter F1 in 2010, albeit with Virgin as its title sponsor.

Due to the timescale and budget, the VR-01 was, as expected, a fairly conventional design. Furthermore, downforce was poor. Nonetheless, in the early stages of the season it gave the Lotus a run for its money. However, the big disaster for the team was the fact that a major error during the design stage meant the fuel tank was too small. In other words, no matter how good its pace or reliability, the car was never going to last a full race distance.

Consequently, the tub was redesigned, the new version with a longer wheelbase, however, Timo didn't get his until Barcelona while teammate Lucas di Grassi had to wait until Turkey.

The redesign meant that a planned upgrade for Barcelona, including a new floor and front and rear wings, was delayed until the British Grand Prix, while after that the updates were few and far between. While the longer wheelbase car was initially slower than the original version, this was soon rectified with some aero tweaks.

Reliability was a major issue, indeed, the team only finished 20 times from 36 starts. Then again, the fuel tank fiasco didn't help. Nonetheless, over the course of the season, other than a DNS for Timo in China (engine air pressure), the VR-01 fell victim to failures involving its gearbox, hydraulics, suspension, clutch, track rod, steering and even a broken wishbone. Indeed, other than two accidents (Malaysia and Korea), Timo suffered six DNFs.

Coming from Toyota, Timo must have suffered a major culture shock on arriving at Virgin. Whereas the Japanese team could throw money at every problem, the British outfit was severely restricted.

Despite the problems, Timo - and his teammate - kept their chins up and got on with their jobs. The German achieved the team's best race result (14th in Japan), while he and di Grassi both qualified 16th at one stage during the season.

Retained for 2011, Timo was clearly hoping for a step forward, however, it was not to be.

The German's season can be pretty much summed up by the two races that bookended the season, Australia and Brazil. In Melbourne, a loose left-front wheel meant he completed less than 90 percent of the race and was therefore unclassified, while at Interlagos he retired after just twenty-one laps, having lost his left-rear tyre.

While his team's reliability was much improved on its debut season, the pace of the MVR-02 was woeful, consequently, as fellow newcomers Lotus continued to close on the established teams, albeit those at the back, Timo and his teammate continued to slug it out with the HRT duo.

In Turkey, gearbox failure meant he failed to even start the race, while in Monaco, where it was thought the team might have some hope, he suffered a broken suspension. He crashed in Singapore and was involved in a race-ending collision in India. On and on it went.

Over the course of the German Grand Prix weekend it was announced that Timo had done a deal with the team that would keep him until 2014.

While some might see this as a mistake of monumental proportions, the technical arrangement with McLaren, the move to new premises in Banbury and the appointment of a new design team - not to mention the end of the pursuit of Nick Wirth's CFD dream - could just see the German, and his newly re-named Marussia F1 Team, take a step forward in 2012.

Looking ahead to the new season, Pitpass' Mat Coch summed up the huge improvement needed at Marussia ... and why.

"Virgin is officially the worst team in Formula One," he wrote. "It has been these last two seasons and that simply has to change. Investors are not interested in doing business with an entity which is not successful. Success breeds success, and while Jim Wright, Marketing Director at Virgin, tells us that the team's finances are built through business-to-business relationships rather than traditional investment, Formula One is an especially fickle business and if you're not winning you're losing. The maths is comparatively simple in that respect."

On paper, Marussia appears to have had a pretty good year, however, had the season been just a few laps less it could have been even better, for everyone. The Russian team finally overhauled HRT, leapfrogging the Spanish team to finish eleventh in the standings however, until the final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix it appeared to have jumped Caterham also, thereby taking tenth in the standing, and therefore entitled to a share of the official prize pot, thought to be worth in excess of 10m.

Having failed the mandatory crash test, the Russian team was forced to use its 2011 car in pre-season testing, the 2012 (MR01) not appearing until March 5 - eleven days before the start of the Australian Grand Prix weekend - when it was unveiled at Silverstone.

The penultimate car to be launched - HRT was last - originally it was to be the only car on the grid that would not use KERS until the Spanish outfit opted to follow suit.

The start of the season didn't augur well, Timo and his teammate managing to out-pace the HRTs but still way short of the Caterhams. On the other hand, reliability was good.

While there was disappointment when Timo was forced to pull out of the European Grand Prix due to a stomach bug worse was to come weeks later when test driver Maria de Villota was seriously injured in a bizarre accident during straightline testing at Duxford Airfield.

In Singapore, Timo was to produce the team's best ever race result, finishing twelfth and thereby leapfrogging Caterham to take tenth in the Constructors' Championship.

To the Banbury-based outfit it was like winning the championship, however, the joy was short-lived, Vitaly Petrov's eleventh in Brazil allowing the Anglo-Malaysian team to retake the position and the (much needed) prize money.

In early November, Pitpass reported that the team was in active discussion with potential new investors in the business and was also pursuing other sources of income including potential sponsorship and drivers.

All went quiet until January 20, a cold miserable Sunday, when a report coming out of Germany had Timo being dumped by Marussia.

Next day, the Russian team confirmed the news, claiming that the decision was by mutual agreement. Summing up the situation, John Booth said: "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."

While Timo soon found employment in the form of a DTM seat with BMW, many were shocked by the news and as the debate raged the popular German took to twitter, confirming that "this has nothing to do with sport".

Whether Timo will ever return to F1 remains to be seen however, other than the established winners the current trend appears to be towards signing younger drivers with money, and lots of it. As for Timo, as he reflects on Toyota, during the good times, he will have every right to feel a little bitter, thinking 'what might have been'.

Statistics - at the end of 2012 Season

Drivers' Titles: 0
Seasons in F1: 6
Grand Prix: 91
Wins: 0
Poles: 0
Fastest Laps: 1

Best result in 2012: 12th (Singapore)
Best qualifying 2012: 19th (USA)
Worst qualifying 2012: 23rd (Bahrain)

2012: Out-qualified Charles Pic 13 times
2012: Out-qualified by Charles Pic 7 times

2012: Completed 1098 out of 1135 laps (96.7%)
2012: Finished 18 times from 19 starts (95%)

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