Timo Glock's exit from the Marussia F1 team has been officially confirmed, bringing an end to a nine-year spell in the top flight.
The split, first rumoured by Germany's Sport Bild
at the weekend, was formally announced by both parties in a statement issued from Banbury on Monday morning [21 January], with the current economic climate blamed for Glock's exit just over 18 months after he signed a lengthy contract extension.
The German was being paid to head up the team's driving strength, but Marussia replaced Caterham-bound Charles Pic with the well-backed Max Chilton for 2013, and is now expected to hire a similarly-funded team-mate for the young Briton. Vitaly Petrov and Sebastien Buemi head the list of rumoured replacements – although the Swiss driver's funding source is unclear – while Luiz Razia, Bruno Senna and Jaime Alguersuari all wait in the wings, having confirmed that they had the funds to chase other drives for 2013.
According to the Marussia statement, the team and Glock agreed to part company 'by mutual consent' and 'with immediate effect', with team principal John Booth thanking the 30-year old for his service through the first three years of the team's existence.
“Timo has made a very significant contribution to our team over the past three seasons, helping us to develop our package to the point where, for a large proportion of the 2012 season, we were holding tenth place in the constructors' championship,” Booth commented, “He is a fantastic driver and he has been a very popular member of the team.”
Losing that tenth place in the standings to Caterham just laps from the end of the season in Brazil could have proven to be the final nail in Glock's coffin, as finishing eleventh overall does not bring the sort of prize money that could have made retaining the German a viable option for 2013. Without him, Marussia may now have to sacrifice one of its founding principles in favour of doubling up on the other.
“Our team was founded on the principle of benefiting from proven experience whilst also providing opportunities for young emerging talent to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport,” Booth continued, “Thus far, this philosophy has also been reflected in our commercial model.
“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, F1 teams included.
“We would like to thank Timo for working with us to reach this decision, especially as he had a valid contract, and also for the contribution he has made to our team. We wish him all the best for his future and I would like to congratulate the next team acquiring the services of such a competitive, professional and experienced racer.
“We will provide an update regarding the completion of our driver line-up in due course.”