The Monaco Grand Prix was never going to be an easy race for Timo Glock. His past performances around the principality have not been his strongest, either in GP2 or as a Jordan test driver, and he was always going to struggle against his teammate who happens to be a specialist on the acrobatic circuit. Even with this in mind, Glock was so disappointed with his efforts this weekend that he felt compelled to apologise to Toyota after the race.
Timo said “I just made too many mistakes and I am sorry for the team.”
Whilst a number of drivers bounced off each other in the opening stages of the wet race, Glock was the first to spin into the barriers. He followed this up with two more spins on his way to twelfth, and although very few drivers had a mistake free afternoon, Timo was never really hooked up.
Monte Carlo’s dire weather gave the German a great opportunity to land a decent result, and he started well by vaulting ahead of Mark Webber into turn one. He was running firmly in 7th during the early stages, and might have been on for a big points haul if he hadn’t bent the Toyota against the armco.
A strong finish would have been very timely.
Timo Glock is having a difficult time in 2008 and needs to take advantage of chaotic races like Monaco if he wants to make an impression. Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello played their cards perfectly in the rain, and Timo will be hoping for a similar boost as soon as possible.
His season started with that scary airborne accident in Melbourne and didn’t improve at Sepang where he was taken out by Nico Rosberg on lap one. Although Glock has finished every race since, he hasn’t done so in the points and has been a long way behind his teammate.
Timo is usually somewhere between a few tenths and half a second behind Trulli, which is a fairly substantial gap. The midfield is so tight and competitive that fractions of a second are the difference between sixth and sixteenth. Jarno has made it into the final round of qualifying for every Grand Prix so far this year, whilst Glock has managed that just twice.
Nelson Piquet is the only other driver to have compared so poorly against his teammate.
Surprisingly, it isn’t just qualifying pace where Glock is falling short. Jarno Trulli is a one-lap hero but has the German covered over a race distance as well.
Timo is a great driver, so hopefully he can get himself and the Toyota sorted out before it’s too late.
Glock’s poor showing in Formula One this year follows a pattern set by other GP2 and Formula 3000 champions, almost all of whom have reached the sport’s top level. There have been 23 winners of the second-tier series since Formula Two disappeared, but only nine of those champions have set foot on a Grand Prix podium. Most have vanished into F1 obscurity.
Although success in the junior category is a ticket into the big time it isn’t a guarantee of a strong F1 career.
Timo Glock raced in GP2 for two seasons, claiming the title in 2007. He might have gone close in 2006 as well if he had started the year with a competitive team. He drove very well in the series but like many before him, is having plenty of trouble translating that into Grand Prix success.
Glock’s motorsport journey from F1 to Champcars, and back to F1 this year via GP2, is similar to that of Roberto Moreno’s. The popular Brazilian made his Grand Prix debut in 1982 with Lotus, and just like Timo Glock he was filling in for someone else.
When a permanent drive failed to materialise, Moreno switched to Champcars before returning part-time to F1. He also contested the Formula 3000 championship and won the title, which helped him set up a long lasting Grand Prix career.
The second race of Moreno’s F1 return was the 1985 Australian Grand Prix. The Adelaide street circuit was brutal to the field and only seven cars finished the gruelling race. It was a great opportunity for Moreno to score a few rare points, and that’s exactly what he did.
It’s exactly what Timo Glock should have done yesterday.
Moreno ended up staying in Formula One for almost a decade and drove for ten different teams. Although he rarely troubled the scorers that sort of longevity in the sport is impressive.
Timo Glock will need to turn his performances around quickly if he wants to be a Grand Prix driver for anywhere near as long as that.
At least Glock will feel encouraged by the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix. The venue must surely be his favourite, and is where he first entered a Grand Prix in 2004. Timo finished a respectable 11th on debut for Jordan, and after four cars ahead of him were disqualified he became one of the few drivers to score points at his first attempt.
When Timo jumped across the pond into Champcar, his best result in that championship was also at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve where he finished second.
No doubt he will revisit those memories when he hits the track in a fortnight.
If Timo Glock deserves to have a good run in Formula One, it is for no other reason than his actions at the 2004 Australian Grand Prix.
Timo appeared at Albert Park four years ago as Jordan’s Friday test driver. On the Saturday morning his driving duties were complete, but he still arrived at the circuit at the same time as everyone else.
Next to the paddock entrance at Melbourne is a small platform where autograph seeking fans gather to catch a glimpse of their heroes. Some drivers tend to rush by and wave from a distance, but most allow time to mingle with their admirers and sign the odd race program. Timo Glock did just that on his first visit to Australia and seemed happy enough to chat with those who recognised him. Like all the other drivers, he disappeared after a few minutes of scribbling his signature.
However, Timo re-emerged in front of the crowd almost 20 minutes later. It turns out that he hadn’t left at all, but had started working his way along the line of fans that flanked the paddock access road. Rather than sign a few photos and get out of there, Timo stuck around until he ran out of people.
When you consider that Fernando Alonso jogged past the crowd without even acknowledging their existence, Timo’s marathon autograph session is a great reason to wish him well for the future.
Montreal might be his best chance to turn it all around.