From Marussia With Not Much Love
Oh Timo, what have you done?
Two and a bit years since Toyota stopped F1 operations, and a huge gamble in joining one of the three new teams, Timo Glock seems to have made a huge mistake. Marussia are now in a mess, a massive mess, a mess so big finally Hispania can actually look down on a team. On Monday they failed part of their crash test, will miss the final test session in Barcelona and it will be the first practice in Australia on March 16th when we finally see what they have produced.
And it’s hard to expect much from it. The team, first under it’s incarnation of Virgin Racing and it’s current form in Marussia are on one impressive downhill slope, failure in that crash test puts their season into turmoil, this stage last year, with HRT were in a similar boat, the Spanish team failed to qualify in Australia. Even after that, HRT went on to be decent competition against Virgin Racing, on some occasion justifiably beating them on pace. And for all the stick HRT gets, it is pretty embarrassing for Virgin Racing, and especially a good driver in Glock.
It wasn’t too long ago he came close to even winning the odd race, prior to his ‘injury’ in Japan (I will maintain he was never actually injured and they only brought in Kobayashi as a desperate plee to keep Toyota going), he finished in a brilliant second in Singapore, equalling his best finish in an F1 race. In the period between his first second place finish, in Hungary 2008, and his second, Singapore 2009, his team mate Trulli couldn’t match it, despite starting on pole in Bahrain.
So the kid has potential, and little of it has been shown at Virgin Racing so far. He can’t show it really, it’ll be damn near impossible to. How do you when the car is left pottering around at the back trying and struggling to beat a team everyone laughs at. It won’t be long before the tide turns, and everyone is laughing at Marussia.
Glock doesn’t deserve to be at the team when it does happen, he gambled a lot to go to Marussia. By all accounts the Renault job was up for grabs at the time, and I was certainly one of the main people trying to persuade him to go to them. He has the talent for the top five team, but the risk he took to take a new team up the ranks has to be respected. Usually though it’s hard to respect when it goes horribly wrong, and you have to wonder where his career could be if he had just said yes to Renault.
Last year he struggled somewhat to the less inexperienced Jerome D’Ambrosio who, unfairly, got the boot for 2012. This could show his desire to race for the team is diminishing, or a strong talent in D’Ambrosio which wasn’t fully shown in the car, or even noticed in the teams chequebook (I think those still exist). I like to believe its a bit of both, and with Marussia fading into obscurity and behind the 107% rule territory. Glock can’t stay there, he shouldn’t stay there. He is still a good driver, a very good driver.
But jobs for 2013 seem to be limited to those with sponsors and those who are already in a good team. Very few roles seem to be genuinely up for grabs. And not that I wouldn’t love him to go to Sauber when Sergio Perez goes to Ferrari and Kamui Kobayashi gets the boot, but realistically it seems that team is the only viable alternative. IndyCar would not be alien to a driver who won Champ Car Rookie of the Year in 2005, and naturally endurance racing is always an option. But Timo Glock could have been a very good Formula 1 driver, but he has practically destroyed that chance by remaining in the Marussia.