Timo Glock has been signed by BMW as their eighth driver in the DTM for 2013, after Glock enjoyed a successful test in the BMW M3 DTM car last week. After the contract was agreed, BMW interviewed Glock about his connection to BMW, his experiences in the car, and his expectations for the season ahead. The interview is reproduced in full here:
Timo, what impression did the BMW M3 DTM make on you in Valencia?
Timo Glock: “As someone who has spent many years driving in single-seaters, it was obviously very different for me to suddenly find myself in a car with a roof over my head. Fortunately the BMW M3 DTM made it very easy for me to adapt. The same goes for the members of the BMW Motorsport team, who welcomed me with open arms. I still recognised a lot of faces from days gone by, so I immediately felt at home. It was great fun. However, I also know that I must still work hard in order to get a real feel for how to push a DTM car to the limit. The test was a good start. I felt very comfortable from the word go.”
During your time in Formula One, did you always keep an eye on what the BMW family was up to?
Glock: “I obviously followed BMW’s motorsport activities. Firstly, as a result of my sporting history with the BMW family, during which I was crowned Formula BMW ADAC champion and went on to be a test driver in the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Secondly, because I regularly came into contact with BMW right from an early age. My father always drove BMWs and, as a kid in the 1980s and 1990s, I always had my fingers crossed for Steve Soper, Johnny Cecotto and co in the DTM.”
What did BMW do for your career?
Glock: “BMW allowed me to make the step up from karting to single-seater racing. The powers that be recognised my talent back then. They supported me and, in doing so, set me up for the rest of my career. Without BMW I would not have had the financial means to work my way through the junior ranks. I have not forgotten that. That is another reason why I have always had a connection to BMW. I bought myself a BMW and even asked to drive a BMW M5 for the Formula One taxi rides in Hockenheim, as it is such a great car. I just find it a class brand.”
Having spent a long time driving in Formula One, what is your source of motivation in the DTM?
Glock: “It was not always easy to spend three years in Formula One regularly watching other drivers from behind who were sometimes doing a worse job than me, but were still way ahead as they were in better cars. You want to finally be back challenging at the front of the field again and are hungry for good results. This hunger became more intense over the winter. Now is the right time for me to make a change. I am really up for the DTM.”
In the DTM, you can make a difference again as a driver …
Glock: “Precisely. Whatever happens, that is what I will be trying to do together with the members of the BMW Motorsport team. I am well aware I cannot immediately be the fastest in what is an extremely strong DTM field. However, I am determined to learn everything I need in order to be successful in the DTM.”
What makes the DTM so attractive?
Glock: “The strength in depth at the top of the DTM is fascinating. Every qualifying and every race comes down to a few thousandths of a second. It is a similar story among the very top teams in Formula One, but the difference in performance between the teams is much greater. My team-mate was essentially my only reference point. I am now putting myself under pressure to prove myself in a far more evenly balanced field. I know Formula One drivers have rarely been able to make an impact in the DTM. I want to prove I am different and will at some point be challenging for victories. Only time will tell whether or not I achieve this. I am certainly not lacking in motivation.”
What goals have you set yourself for your debut season in the DTM?
Glock: “Even though I will initially have an awful lot to learn, I would obviously like to be in the points and, where possible, challenge for podiums. Augusto Farfus showed in 2012 what can be achieved as a rookie. That is driving me on. I want to get the very maximum out of my package and claim the best results possible for BMW.”
How much are you looking forward to being so close to the fans in the DTM?
Glock: “Very much. I came to love the proximity to the fans during my year in the USA in 2005. That proximity is also present in the DTM. Formula One, in which the drivers are always very isolated from the outside world and can rarely give anything back to the fans, could learn a thing or two from the way the DTM is so open to its fans.”
You will only line up at ten races in 2013, as opposed to the 20 you have become accustomed to. How will this change your everyday routine?
Glock: “When you are a potential winner in Formula One, it is no problem to spend three or four weeks in a row on the road. However, when you don’t have any great prospects, the stress really takes its toll on your body. That will be a little less in the DTM, but I still expect a tough and intense year. I will spend every minute between races thinking about how I can improve and be as well prepared as possible.
Poland’s Robert Kubica yesterday completed his first day of circuit testing since sustaining serious injuries in a rally crash in February 2011. Kubica drove a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, and reported afterwards that his day had gone well.
Robert Kubica: “My first day of testing in a DTM car was great fun and I learned a lot about the series and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The first installation lap was in the dry, then a few heavy showers of rain came down and we had to wait for the track to dry out. All in all, it was a good experience, getting to know the car in different weather conditions. I was able to get to grips with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and felt very comfortable in the car, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce that a state-of-the art DTM race car produces. I’m very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car.”
During a day that was interrupted by early showers, Kubica completed 114 laps of the circuit, equivalent to 456.570 kilometres, which is approximately one and a half Formula One race distances and comfortably more than two DTM race distances. Mercedes did not quote lap times in their press release, but a Polish source suggested that Kubica’s times were within a few tenths of experienced DTM driver Gary Paffett, which is very impressive for Kubica’s first test in a downforce-producing car in two years.
Whether or not Kubica will be able to drive a single-seater remains to be seen – there are still doubts about the mobility of his right arm in the confined space of a Formula One cockpit. Nonetheless, his comfort in a DTM car indicates that he is fit for racing at a high level and that means it should not be long before Robert Kubica is competing on a race track once again.
See photos of Kubica’s DTM test: Kubica tests Merc DTM car – photo gallery
“The Marussia F1 Team and its race driver Timo Glock have, by mutual consent, agreed to part company with immediate effect”, the team reported on its website this morning. The press release referred to “tough economic conditions” as the reason for Glock’s departure, which of course means that they could no longer afford to pay him and are looking instead for a pay driver.
Glock had been with the team since its inception in advance of the 2010 season, and spent three seasons as the team’s senior driver. Results unfortunately were difficult to come by in such a new team, and Glock’s best finish at Marussia was 12th in the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix.
Glock has not yet announced what his next career step will be, but it is widely speculated to be in DTM, the German touring car series. Glock has ties to BMW from his F1 days, having been BMW Sauber’s test driver in 2007. It could be that he has secured a DTM drive with BMW.
For Marussia, there is now the challenge of finding another driver on fairly short notice. Not that there is a shortage of available F1 drivers. Bruno Senna has not yet found a drive after losing his seat at Williams. Narain Karthikeyan is still looking for a new job after HRT went into liquidation at the end of 2012. And Vitaly Petrov could be available if he does not succeed in keeping his place at Caterham. Considering their financial difficulties, Marussia will likely be inclined to select their new driver based on the amount of funding he can provide.
Marussia are due to begin pre-season testing in just 15 days, but have not yet announced when they will launch their 2013 car. With the departure of Glock for financial reasons, it will not be long before questions start being asked about the future of the team, and whether or not they will race in 2013 at all.
Gary Paffett is known to Formula One followers as McLaren’s test driver. It is a position he has held for some years, sometimes alongside Pedro de la Rosa, who now races for HRT. But that is not really Paffett’s claim to fame.
Currently, in addition to his McLaren duties, Paffett races in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series, in which he has participated since 2003. He won the title in 2005 and has been runner-up three times (2004, 2009 and 2010).
DTM is not generally considered a feeder series for Formula One, although it did produce current Force India driver Paul di Resta, who won the German series in 2010. The series is more commonly a destination for retired Formula One drivers, including Jean Alesi, Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen.
Paffett is currently leading the 2012 DTM championship comfortably, which begs the question: Why is he not in Formula One? It is obvious that he can drive, and yet McLaren have never asked him to race their F1 car. He was thought to be in contention for the 2007 McLaren seat that ultimately went to Lewis Hamilton, and was linked to the Prodrive team that failed to make the grid in 2008.
Paffett is a successful racing driver. He has experience driving Formula One cars. Is it not time for a Formula One team that is serious about development to hire him?