For the first time in six years Timo Glock will not be lining up on the Formula 1 grid when the lights go out on for the first race of the season.
Last Updated: 25/01/13 4:18pm
For the first time in six years, Timo Glock will not be lining up on the Formula 1 grid when the lights go out for the first race of the new season.
The vastly experienced German had been preparing for a fourth straight season behind the wheel of a Marussia car before the unexpected news arrived a fortnight before the first test of 2013 that driver and team had agreed to part company.
With the team pointing to commercial reasons for the sudden split, the reality was that three-time podium finisher Glock's status as a 'paid', rather than 'paying', driver was ultimately his undoing amid Marussia's ongoing struggle to make ends meet.
Old backers BMW swiftly came to Glock's aid and arranged a test in their DTM car for him, with the 30-year-old's racing activities in 2013 now to come in tin-tops rather than single-seaters.
Glock's will therefore stay on 91 F1 starts for the time being at least, although it's not the first time he has been forced to take a step back from motorsport's top table.
The likeable German first entered Formula 1 in 2004 as test driver for Jordan and at that year's Canadian GP was handed his F1 debut after regular driver Giorgio Pantano was dropped for financial reasons. The German was classified 11th at the chequered flag but was later promoted to seventh when the Toyota and Williams cars were disqualified.
He was again called up to compete in the final three races of the season but for the next three years his racing path would take him away from F1 - first moving across the Pond to compete in Champ Car, where he earned rookie of the year honours in 2005, before returning to Europe to race in GP2.
In his second year in F1's feeder category, he became champion after winning one feature, and four sprint, races.
Following in the footsteps of previous GP2 title winners Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, Glock immediately made the step (back) up to F1 with ambitious Toyota. And although team-mate Jarno Trulli initially got the better of him - so much so, in fact, that there were questions hanging over Glock's future - the German came into his own from mid-season when a storming drive took him to second place, and his first podium finish, in Hungary.
The 2009 season began in positive fashion as Toyota gained an early lead on many more established rivals thanks in part to their incorporation of the controversial double diffuser. However, they weren't able to put the advantage to good use and once other teams adopted the diffuser design, Toyota once again found themselves slipping backwards.
That second place in Singapore did follow late in the season but Glock was then sidelined for the final three races after a nasty accident in qualifying at Suzuka. That proved to be his last action for Toyota as the team withdrew from F1 at season's end and, despite being linked with drives at several more established teams, it was with newcomers Virgin that Glock resurfaced for 2010.
Backed by Richard Branson, a great deal was expected of the team but the year proved a frustrating one as a myriad of reliability problems meant that Glock retired from eight races, didn't even start in China and finished a race no higher than 14th - although he conclusively outperformed rookie team-mate Lucas di Grassi.
In 2011 the team got on top of reliability but had slipped further away from chief rivals Caterham, with only backmarkers HRT to fight with on a regular basis. Having discarded their controversial all-CFD design approach for 2012, the renamed Marussia outfit initially struggled to make much headway but a strong development push came on stream for the second half of the season and Glock was able to finally fight with the cars ahead - beating them in race and qualifying conditions on a couple of occasions.
Although young Frenchman Charles Pic - Glock's third different rookie team-mate in as many seasons - ran him surprisingly close at times, the experienced German continued to be very much Marussia's main man and his attrition-assisted 12th place in Singapore looked on course to secure the team the lucrative tenth place in the Constructors' Championship until Vitaly Petrov snatched it away for Caterham at the very last in Brazil.
As it turned out, had Marussia managed to hold onto the position then, with additional prize money coming their way, they would have likely been able to afford to keep a driver of Glock's status and experience for 2013.