|24. Timo Glock – Virgin Racing
Following two largely promising seasons with Toyota, Timo Glock has been given the challenging task of leading the debutant Virgin Racing outfit for the 2010 season.
A quiet an unassuming driver, he isn’t a headline-grabber like his compatriots Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, but he can be relied upon to get the job done.
While the 2010 VR-01 is hardly going to prove itself a race-winner, Timo’s talent and CV certainly are assets to the rookie team.
Glock’s career path to F1 was similar to that of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg when he progressed full-time into F1 as the 2007 GP2 champion.
His pre-F1 career featured success in his home country’s ADAC Junior and Formula BMW series, before he moved to the German F3 championship and finished 3rd in his debut season with three race victories.
Three further wins the following year – when the championship became known as the F3 Euroseries – was enough to earn Timo a call-up to Jordan in 2004 as the team’s Friday and reserve driver.
In spite of several brief and relatively impressive outing for Jordan in 2004, he found himself on the sidelines in 2005 and headed Stateside to the Champ Car series. He impressed greatly with the underfunded Rocketsports outfit, nearly winning at Montreal, and was on many top teams’ radar for the 2006 season.
But instead of chasing glory on the west side of the Atlantic, he decided to plump for another crack at F1 via the GP2 championship. The move looked to have backfired, as the BCN’s slow and unreliable car was no match for the frontrunners at the start of the season, but a vacancy at the iSport team allowed him to jump ship mid-season.
The change was immediately evident, and in a competitive car he was soon winning races, and ended the season 4th in the standings having been next to nowhere earlier in the year. He stayed with the team for 2007 and went on to secure the coveted title, despite some reliability issues and a series of lurid accidents.
Timo’s first foray into F1 came via the role of Jordan’s Friday test and reserve driver. He impressed many with his speed in the free practice sessions, and hauled the execrable Jordan EJ14 to session times that belied the car’s poor pedigree.
When main driver Giorgio Pantano’s sponsors defaulted on an instalment due to the team, he was shoved to sidelines and in came Timo for a one-off race. Unfamiliar with the pressures of single-lap qualifying, he was the first driver to post a flying lap and managed a respectable, albeit expected 16th on the grid. Helped by a little of attrition and some disqualification in a typically chaotic Montreal race, he took two points with a fine seventh place.
It was back to the ‘Man Friday’ role for the rest of the season, until Pantano was finally fired by the team, and Timo found himself taking on full duties for the final three rounds at China, Japan and Brazil. By now, the EJ14 was long in the tooth and had next to no development, and he was never going to get noticed racing at the back of the pack.
With his success in the 2006 GP2 series, he found himself appointed as BMW Sauber’s test driver in 2007, the same year he took the GP2 championship spoils.
With no race seats available at Hinwil for 2008, he signed with Toyota for his first full-time race driver role.
After accidents and some anonymous midfield performances in the opening rounds, he finally came good with a clever one-stop drive in Montreal to secure a fine fourth place.
He bounced back from an almighty headache-inducing shunt at the German GP (courtesy of a suspension failure) to qualify a career-best 5th at Hungary; he would take his first podium on Sunday behind Heikki Kovalainen, who took his maiden win in the McLaren.
His confidence now growing, he took further points at Valencia, Singapore, Shanghai and Sao Paulo – in the final race, famously running wide with dry tyres on a damp track to allow Lewis Hamilton to snatch the title from Felipe Massa.
To many fans, he is remembered for this incident alone, and there were howls of disappointment from the Ferrari fans’ quarters. But that drive to 6th was still impressive for his ability to nurse the car on dry tyres that were ill-suited to the conditions.
The Toyota TF109 was a considerable improvement for his second F1 season, and his 2009 results improved enormously with a near race-win in the soaking rain of Malaysia. He qualified on the front row but faded to 7th, but bounced back after a mid-season dip to score a fighting podium at Singapore.
At the next Grand Prix at Suzuka, he slammed his Toyota into the final corner’s tyre barriers and was out for the rest of the season with a feet and neck injuries.
In spite of Toyota’s surprise pull-out from F1, his F1 future seemed secure and he was linked with several top teams before deciding that the challenge of Virgin Racing suited him best.
- A good racer with a proven ability to drive beyond the limitations of his car
- Great car control, particularly in changeable conditions
- Generally doesn’t have particularly flash single-lap pace, with just 14 appearances on the grid’s top-ten. In fairness, his two seasons at Toyota were alongside the qualifying king that is Jarno Trulli.
- Prone to some bizarre errors and poor concentration, such as his qualifying accident at Suzuka – who glances at their dashboard going around a corner at 150mph?
What defines success in 2010?
- Get Virgin Racing competing closer to the established F1 teams
- Scrape the occasional points finish if the cards fall his way.
[Images via StatsF1]
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