Glock departure to open doors at Marussia?
21 January 2013
Although the possibility was mooted around that time that Max Chilton signed with the Banbury-based team, it appears that Timo Glock's departure from Marussia is now imminent.
Brazilian driver Luiz Razia, a hopeful chasing the seat eventually offered to GP2 Series rival Chilton, intimated that Glock's position with the team wasn't as secure as his long-term deal suggested, but little movement since saw the speculation largely forgotten. Now, however, it appears that Glock could be about to call time on his F1 career for a berth in the DTM touring car series, with Razia among those hoping to benefit…..
Reports in Germany's Sport Bild contain a brief quote from 31-year old Glock saying that any split would be entirely amicable, but there has, as yet, been no official confirmation from Banbury. However, the former Toyota F1 driver is rumoured to have been added to the shortlist of names in contention for a seat with BMW's DTM team, having forged strong links with the Munich marque during his junior career. The only question would then be whether Marussia is paying off the remainder of his contract, knowing that it has a 'pay driver' lined up, ready to provide the financial impetus to off-load the veteran.
Glock's departure would almost certainly leave Marussia with a less experienced pairing, with the AON-backed Chilton secure in the second seat but brining just limited testing mileage to the squad.
Whilst Razia would remain an option to partner the Briton, and is similarly a race winner in the GP2 feeder series having finished as runner-up in 2012, he also has perilously little F1 experience, and has yet to do more than test and take part in Friday morning practice sessions. GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, who is rumoured to have a smaller sponsorship pot to offer than Razia, is another rookie option, but it is likely that Marussia would opt for someone who could bring some leadership to the driver line-up.
Erstwhile Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov would make sense given Marussia's Russian ownership, and is understood to have reached an impasse in talks to remain at Leafield, but could face opposition from the likes of former Toro Rosso pairing Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, as well as Bruno Senna, who has been linked to both Caterham and Force India while those teams continue to have vacancies. Buemi is currently employed as Red Bull's official test and reserve driver, but his Twitter feed mentioned imminent 'good news' over the weekend, and could be a frontrunner to partner Chilton, despite not being thought to have a substantial amount of financial backing behind him.
Senna and Alguersuari have both been mentioned in connection with other drives, but appear set to miss out despite both being able to bring sponsorship. Either Jules Bianchi or Adrian Sutil are understood to be Force India's choice to partner Paul di Resta, while the second Caterham seat could yet go to 2012 reserve Giedo van der Garde, who brings support from the Netherlands in his bid to finally crack the top flight after four years in GP2.
Ironically, Glock heading to BMW could yet deny Alguersuari the chance to resurrect his career in the DTM, the Spaniard having been reported as having an offer to convert to tin-tops in his pocket prior to continuing to pursue an F1 return. Senna, meanwhile, has been linked to a possible Mercedes ride in the touring car series.