F1 » Timo Glock
Carried in part by the wave of support for German drivers created by the success of the Schumacher brothers, Timo Glock enjoyed a rapid rise through the junior ranks, securing his place in the top flight with the 2007 GP2 title.
Like any aspiring grand prix driver, Glock began his racing career in karts, although he didn't start until the age of 15, some seven or eight years after many of his counterparts. However, he proved capable enough, without actually winning anything major, to consider a move into cars after only two seasons.
With a pretty defined motorsport ladder in his homeland, Glock took his first steps in the Formula BMW Junior Cup, winning the 2000 title and setting himself up for the 'senior' championship the following year. With a season of experience - and confidence - under his belt, the German duly clinched the ADAC title for Team Mamerow at the first time of asking, leaving himself with the option of Formula Renault or Formula Three for 2002.
Opting for the latter, he joined Opel Team KMS to contest the German championship, and again adapted well, finishing third overall as best-placed rookie driver. That introduction to F3 led to an invitation to contest the inaugural Euroseries in 2003, again with KMS. Up against a strong international field, including eventual winner Ryan Briscoe and runner-up Christian Klien, Glock finally broke through as an F3 driver, winning three races and finishing fifth overall.
While that performance in itself didn't cause a rush of interest from Formula One teams, access to German sponsorship was attractive and, with the support of Deutsche Post's Speed Academy, he signed up as official test and reserve driver for the Jordan team in 2004.
While his deal restricted other racing activities, Glock didn't have to wait long to get back into the action, swapping his Friday practice role for the second race seat alongside Nick Heidfeld when sponsorship difficulties kept Giorgio Pantano out of the Canadian Grand Prix. Against the odds, and to Pantano's undoubted frustration, Glock managed to bring the otherwise poor EJ14 home in seventh place to earn a couple of points on his debut.
The German returned to testing duties from the next race, as Pantano ironed out his money problems, but was called back into the fray when the lacklustre Italian was finally dropped ahead of the final three races of the year – in China, Japan and Brazil. No further points were forthcoming, however, leaving Glock 19th in the championship with just the precious two he had scored in Montreal.
Naturally, he hoped that his 2004 performances would stand him in good stead for the 2005 season but, despite some interest from Jordan, Glock missed out when the team was taken over by Russian investors.
Thwarted, he turned his attentions to the US-based Champ Car series where, after a series of promising tests, he ousted Alex Tagliani from what had appeared a safe seat at Rocketsports Racing.
The German certainly made his mark in his debut season during which he experienced something of a wild ride in the Rocketsports machine. His commitment was total, and on occasion led to on-track indiscretions that needed to be eliminated from his driving, but his feisty performances won him the 'Rookie of The Year' title and although a victory just eluded him, Glock finished a creditable eighth in the final points standings.
However having built a strong reputation in the Champ Car Series, Timo decided against a sophomore year and with F1 still firmly in his mind he returned to Europe to contest the GP2 Series.
Although the year was largely dominated by the performances of Lewis Hamilton and Nelson Angelo Piquet, Glock did a great job in re-establishing his credentials. A splendid racer's win in at Hockenheim was his only victory though and a wrist injury hampered his chances of finishing higher than fourth in the final standings.
2007 however was very much his year and Timo did enough to take the GP2 title, notching up five race wins in total with iSport and eventually finishing the season with 88 points - 11 more than Lucas di Grassi, who ended the season as his closest challenger.
Furthermore having gained another foot-hold in Formula 1 by joining the BMW Sauber F1 team to share testing duties with Sebastian Vettel for '07, Timo was able to build on his F1 knowledge base and, while the Swiss-based outfit was keen to keep him for '08, a race deal with Toyota came up and he duly signed on the dotted line.
Timo linked up with Italian veteran Jarno Trulli, replacing fellow countryman Ralf Schumacher as he joined the Cologne-based squad on an undisclosed 'multi-year contract' for his second shot at F1.
While a solid debut in Melbourne ended with an airborne accident, the German progressed smoothly to rival Trulli in the second half of the season. He picked up a deserved second place in the Hungarian GP – two weeks after another hefty, but mechanically-induced, shunt in his home race - as well as fourths in Canada and Singapore to sit behind his team-mate in the final standings, tenth overall with 25 points.
There was little doubt that Glock would continue with Toyota for 2009, and he duly formed part of an unchanged line-up as the Japanese marque posted highly promising pre-season performances with a car that appeared well-suited to the radical new rules. The team again said, however, that it would need to finally win a race to justify the amount of money being shelled out on its F1 programme, so it came as little surprise that the plug was pulled at the end of the season, after an up-and-down performance from the TF109.
The weakest of the three teams to steal a march on the opposition with the controversial double diffuser, Toyota was still able to close out the front row in Bahrain, but then found itelf at the very back of the field in Monaco. Both Glock and Trulli secured second place finishes before the end of the year, but the German wasn't even around when, three days after the Abu Dhabi finale, the axe finally fell on Toyota's participation in F1.
An accident in qualifying for the Japanese GP - one race after taking runner-up spot in Singapore - sidelined him at Suzuka and, despite a brief appearance in practice thereafter, the team decided that reserve Kamui Kobayashi was the way to go, leaving Glock tenth in the championship, with 24 points.
Accepting that his Toyota seat was gone even before the end of the year, the German began casting his net and was widely tipped to go to Renault before surprisingly accepting the team leader role at F1 newcomer Virgin Racing, where he would line-up alongside rookie Lucas di Grassi in a car designed entirely by CFD at Wirth Research.
Unsurprisingly, the VR-01 was never a match for the established teams, but was able to run with fellow 'newcomer' Lotus Racing for much of the year. Frustrating problems with the gearbox and fuel tank size blighted early performances, but Glock was occasionally able to transcend the car's limitations, notably in Korea, where he starred in the wet conditions before being taken out. He eventually finished the year classified in 25th place, behind di Grassi, after failing to match the Brazilian's best result of 14th.
Again, the autumn was full of speculation about where Glock may wind up in 2011, with Renault again a possibility, but he eventually revealed that he was going nowhere and would return to lead a revised Virgin line-up - now with rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio in di Grassi's seat - for a second season.
Moreover, despite another tough campaign, the German inked a long-term option at his home grand prix to remain with the team for the foreseeable future. That decision came amid a season of mediocrity from the Anglo-Russian team which yielded a best finish of 15th for Glock and a repeat of 25th position in the point standings.
A change of ownership, with Russian carmaker Marussia taking full control, and a new technical relationship with McLaren was always unlikely to bring about a huge change for 2012, particularly as Glock was partnered by French rookie Charles Pic, but things actually looked a little more positive by the end of the year.
Although Vitaly Petrov’s eleventh place in Brazil trumped Glock’s twelfth from Singapore, not only lifting him above the German in the drivers’ standings, but also elevating Caterham into the prize money for a third straight year, the German had reason to be pleased with his season, as his experience helped lift Marussia above HRT and onto the tail of Caterham, despite not having the performance aids available to its rival. Glock's performance in Singapore was particularly noteworthy, not just because of the result, and it was cruel to see the effort negated when his team-mate was passed just a few laps from the end of the season.
The veteran was expected to remain with Marussia into 2013, when he would have been paired with another inexperienced team-mate in the shape of British GP2 graduate Max Chilton, but January brought the surprise announcement that team and driver had parted company 'by mutual consent'. The reason was clearly financial - with Glock being paid to drive and the team looking for increased funding - but Glock already appeared to have an escape plan in place, linking up immediately for a DTM test with BMW and, after just a couple of days on track in Valencia, inking a full race deal with the Munich marque.