AUGUST 28, 2007

Glock to replace Ralf at Toyota?

The word in the paddock in Istanbul is that Toyota has either signed, or is about to sign, a long-term deal with GP2 racer Timo Glock. The young German would be taken on as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher and team-mate to Jarno Trulli.

Team boss John Howett was sitting close to Ralf in one of the FIA press conferences in Istanbul and said that "Jarno has a contract and we™re in discussion with Ralf" but went on to say that "we™re just not prepared at this moment to make a decision".

Glock is known to have visited the Toyota factory in recent weeks and since BMW announced Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, but not a reserve and test driver, Glock seems to be on the market. He does have a BMW deal for 2008 but we believe there is a get-out clause if he has the opportunity to race in F1.

Signing Glock would be a risk, particularly for a team where risks are rarely taken but Schumacher's massive salary and performances (or rather the lack of them) have been hard to justify, even for Toyota executives who do not want to rock the boat in Japan.

Team principal George Yamashina says that he wants to run the team "the Toyota Way" which means that he is far more likely to sign a newcomer than buy an established star.

If Schumacher loses his drive he will be hard-pressed to find another.