Timo Glock has lamented the trend at the back of F1′s grid.
The salaried German has been dropped by Marussia mid-contract, with the backmarker team openly admitting it needs to replace him with a sponsored driver.
30-year-old Glock has switched to DTM with BMW.
‘A few years ago,’ he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, ‘if the gap (to the front teams) was one or two centimetres, now it is ten.’
Indeed, HRT has folded, Marussia has cleared space for a second pay-driver, and Caterham is yet to announce a team mate for Charles Pic – and it is unlikely to be the highly rated Heikki Kovalainen.
‘As long as this model (in F1) continues, it will be increasingly difficult for the smaller teams to stay in the race,’ Glock predicted.
‘And next year, with the new engines, then Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes will pull even further ahead.’
Needing ‘pay drivers’ simply to stay afloat but then suffering on track as a result, Glock said the smallest teams are ‘stuck in a vicious circle’.