That is the claim of Pat Symonds, the former Renault ‘crash-gate’ conspirator who – after serving his F1 ban – is now openly in charge of the 2013 Marussia MR02.
Devoid of many sponsors, the new red and black car will be raced this year by wealthy Max Chilton and Luiz Razia, who replaced German Glock at the last minute. “For Red Bull, one million has little effect,” Symonds is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “For us it’s different.”
Marussia has openly admitted it ousted the salaried Glock because it needed a driver to bring significant sponsorship. “I have to take my hat off to Timo,” said Symonds, referring to the 30-year-old who has switched to DTM with BMW.
“He understood our situation and told us that if his leaving can help 100 jobs, then he will make room for another driver.” Still, Symonds regrets that Glock had to go. “He is an excellent driver; with his experience and feedback he helped a lot with the development of the car,” he said. “And he was excellent in difficult conditions. On a dry track, he was three to five tenths in front of (Charles) Pic (in 2012). But in difficult conditions, such as the last race in Brazil, it was one and a half seconds.”
Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss who this week admitted he tried and failed to help former team driver Heikki Kovalainen stay in F1, said the current ‘pay driver’ situation is “a shame” for F1. “It is exciting for those guys who can afford it,” he is quoted by the Dutch magazine Formule1, “but in my opinion this is the top of motor sport. “For some teams it’s difficult to survive, that’s for sure,” he acknowledged.