“Commercial realities” in Formula 1….


Timo-Glock-cornering-Monaco-FP3-2012Financial realities came to the forefront of the Formula 1 paddock once again today with announcements from both Marussia and Mercedes illustrating the differences between the “haves and have-nots”.

Since their inception in 2010 Marussia has been led by Timo Glock. The German has enjoyed three mostly promising seasons for the Banbury based team but even though they spent much of last season in tenth position in the Constructors’ Championship their lack of resources is clearly a factor in allowing Glock to leave.

The progress of the team has been quite impressive with Marussia consistently faster than Caterham for much of last year even though they have been operating with an inferior engine and less resources.

Team manager, John Booth, stressed the impact Glock played in the team’s formative years but with the team living on a shoestring they had little option but let their lead driver leave the team:

timo-glock-race-melbourne2011“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,” said Booth. “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, Formula 1 teams included.”

With HRT no longer on the grid the strain being placed on teams is clear but with both Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen having left their teams’ it is clear that the struggles at the back of the grid are increasing once again.

Timo-Glock-lockup-Barcelona-2012It had been expected that Glock would be partnered with Max Chilton in 2013. The Englishman, a GP2 graduate, is generally regarded well but his hiring was related to his ability to bring with a sizeable budget to the team. Even with one “pay driver” it was too difficult for the team to retain Glock.

The future of the German is being heavily speculated at the moment. The only available race seat is with Force India but it is likely that the team will require a driver to bring a budget with him.

A move to the DTM is the most likely destination with a role as a reserve/development driver in F1 also a possibility. Having raced for Toyota in the past Glock has a lot of simulator experience and he would be an attractive option for any leading team.

The likes of Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Sebastian Buemi have been linked with the Marussia seat.

Nico-Rosberg-Romain-Grosjean-Michael-Schumacher-Barcelona-race-2012At the other end of the grid Mercedes today announced that Toto Wolff will replace Nobert Haug as the team’s Executive Director while also gaining a reported 30 % stake in the team. The Austrian had been a shareholder in Williams and was seen as a likely candidate to replace Sir Frank Williams over the next few years.

Williams thanked Wolff for his contribution to the team while also saying:

I would like to thank Toto for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team during his time as a Director of the Company,” said Williams. “He was a key support to me as Executive Director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend. However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often.”

Mercedes also confirmed that Niki Lauda has also become a minority shareholder in the team and will continue in his role as a non-executive board member.

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