Marussia Virgin Racing became one of the few F1 teams to cement at least one driver in place for next season, with news from the Nurburgring that Timo Glock had agreed to extend his contract for the foreseeable future.
The announcement follows an exciting few weeks for the Anglo-Russian minnow, in which it revealed a new technical partnership with McLaren and demonstrated its cars 'on home soil' in Sochi, and gives the team a constant on which to build its future. Glock joined Virgin Racing at its inception in 2009, bringing invaluable F1 racing experience to a team that was being built from the bottom up amid claims that he wanted to take his career to the next level by helping to transform the fortunes of a fledgling team and be intrinsic to its development and future success.
Although he had an option to remain at Virgin for 2011, the German was openly casting around for alternatives, with the vacancy at Renault alongside Robert Kubica - prior to the Pole's rallying accident - a potential landing spot. In the end, the seat was retained by Vitaly Petrov and Glock returned to Virgin claiming that he was 100 per cent committed to the cause.
“I am very happy to confirm that Marussia Virgin Racing will be my home for the next few years of my F1 career," Glock confirmed ahead of his home grand prix, "The past 18 months of racing have been quite tough, although this was always to be expected. As a driver I knew I would have to go back a few steps in order to move forward. Now we have tasted the difficult times together I can't wait to be with the team when we start to enjoy the good times.
"And I know they are coming. I've seen tremendous belief from Marussia and hard work and commitment across the whole team. With the additional steps we have taken – the technical partnership with McLaren and bringing the whole team together – I believe we can achieve our goals together. This year, we've demonstrated that we know how to build a reliable car and, with the resources we now have, we should be able to add to that a high-performing car. After that, it's all about gradual, but significant, steps forward.”
The past 18 months have, indeed, been challenging for all concerned, but the two major announcements - that it had concluded a long-term technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies which will see the Anglo-Russian team benefit from access to McLaren facilities, knowledge and capabilities, and that it has acquired former designer Nick Wirth's leading-edge technical centre in Banbury - allied to Glock's commitment, make Marussia Virgin Racing's future appear more promising.
“We are delighted to have agreed a new long-term contract with Timo, which represents another significant step in our plans for Marussia Virgin Racing," CEO Andy Webb commented, "Timo's contribution to the team over the past 18 months has been immeasurable, and he has certainly lived up to his commitment to help build a team from within. It has been a tough climb at times and, for a driver of his unquestionable record, it must have proved frustrating at times. Both he and the team are fortunate to be faced with the opportunities we have now created for ourselves when we are still very much in our infancy.
“Timo is vastly experienced, whilst still bringing youth and great spirit to the team. We are looking forward to seeing what we can do together to extract the maximum from our resources, particularly the promising technical partnership with McLaren. We look forward to continuing the positive relationship we enjoy with Timo.”
Glock's team-mate is unlikely to be known for some time, with Jerome d'Ambrosio the current incumbent but surrounded by persistent rumours about his tenure.