More frustration in store for Glock?

By on Monday, March 5, 2012

Timo Glock © Marussia F1

On Saturday 3rd March 2012 Timo Glock tweeted how his girlfriend had cooked a ‘mega dinner’ and he was looking forward to watching the boxing in the evening. He described it as the ‘perfect day’. But it wasn’t. The perfect day would have been spent in Barcelona testing Marussia’s 2012 challenger the MR01. Instead, he was forced to observe proceedings of the final test before Melbourne from home, ‘Just saw some pics of todays testing in Barcelona! Red bull rear end looks pretty impressive !!! Wow what a detail work’ came the next tweet. Marussia had of course aimed to get its car to the final test, but failed to do so after failing a mandatory crash test.

Missing that final test was a disappointment for the whole Marussia team leaving them with only two filming days to run their car before Melbourne, but for Glock in particular frustration must be building. He struggled to contain it at times in 2011, most notably after qualifying for the German Grand Prix when he told his team over the radio how difficult they were making his life. Both team and driver tried to brush it off as a joke the next day, but even taking into account the infamous German sense of humour it did not sound like a light-hearted comment. Perhaps 2012 would bring a more competitive car, the team finally beginning to make some progress with Nick Wirth and his CFD only design gone and Pat Symonds, a man who has won world championships, on board as a consultant. Already though, the crash test failure has provided a setback. Still, could be worse. The fuel tank could be too small to finish the race…

It’s all a long way from the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix, a race in which Glock produced a fine drive to finish 2nd behind Lewis Hamilton and equal the best finish of his career. But then came a crash in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. Glock was ruled out of the final three races through injury, although it conveniently allowed the Japanese car giant to put Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi in the car. Would Glock have stayed with Toyota for 2010? It doesn’t matter, as they pulled out and despite being linked to Renault he signed for Manor Grand Prix which would soon be named Virgin Racing.

In 2009 Glock finished 10th in the championship for the second consecutive season despite missing the last three races and through 2008 and 2009 had put in some impressive drives, Hungary 2008 and Singapore 2009 standing out. It had been a long wait since his debut for Jordan in 2004 driving in four Grand Prix including Canada where he scored points in his very first, but Glock had shown what he was capable of. He was joining a new team for 2010 but commenting how he wanted to succeed through being a part of building a team and developing the car

What has happened since is surely not what he had in mind; two seasons spent at the back of the grid in an uncompetitive car and last in the Constructors’ championship twice. That 2nd place in Singapore over two years ago remains his last points finish. Whilst Heikki Kovalainen has rebuilt his reputation at Lotus and the team, now as Caterham, looks set to close the gap to the mid-field in 2012 Glock looks set to be resuming Marussia’s battle with HRT to avoid the wooden spoon and risks becoming a forgotten man if the team does not begin to improve soon. He appeared demotivated at times in 2011 and having missed pre-season testing Marussia once again look to be a long way off giving him a car worthy of his talents.

If things remain bad should he leave the team? He has a contract through to the end of 2014 which was hastily announced after those comments in Germany, but if there is some sort of opt out clause it is hard to see where else he could go when you look at the long list of drivers who missed out on seats for 2012 and the amount of drivers who bring funding. Glock isn’t getting any younger either. On the day of the Australian Grand Prix he will turn 30. It will be eight years since he made his F1 debut and four since he returned for his first proper campaign with Toyota.

2012 could be a building or transitional year for Marussia. The future is not completely bleak; they have a technical partnership with McLaren and look at the improvements made by Force India since 2008 with their partnership with the Woking based team.

It’s impossible to judge the performance of the MR01 before Melbourne having not seen it at any tests, but this means team is immediately on the back foot. It does not bode well for 2012, or the start of it at least. Try not to crack any more 'jokes' over the radio Timo…

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