Timo Glock - this is a name you almost always see languishing somewhere in the lower half of the drivers' standings after every Formula One race. He is Team Marussia's driver-in-chief (if you didn't know that already), and therein lies the reason for his reasonably slow progress. Team Marussia, like we stated sometime ago, is very clearly a team that's still re-building, still trying to gather every iota of information, data and technique that could help it move up the championship ladder, especially keeping in mind the fact that it does not have access to KERS.
There is still some way off before we start seeing some knockout performances from Marussia, but that doesn't stop the team, and Glock more specifically, from giving it his best every race weekend. He hasn't chimed in with a podium finish this year yet (and is currently 19th on the drivers' standings table), but his 12th-place finish in Singapore previewed a future that holds promise. As it happened, we caught up with the German on the eve of the Indian Grand Prix weekend for an India-exclusive chat, which was (loosely) confined to F1 business. This is how it transpired:
TopGear India: So, you're back in India. What's the journey been like so far?
Timo Glock: I haven't really got much time to see what's what yet. Landed in town only yesterday night, and a cab trip from the airport to the hotel is all the sightseeing I've done so far. The teeming city of Mumbai though perfectly reminded me of where I was.
TGI: How has this year been with Marussia?
TG: It's been good; I think we had a tough start to the year, missing out on the final testing phase in Barcelona because of the crash test failure, but after that, we've strongly made our way up through the field. The last couple of races have seen a few positive developments on the car that have helped us close the gap on Caterham. We're looking stronger now, though not having KERS on the car is a bit of a disadvantage. In all, the last half of the season has turned out to be much better than the first.
TGI: You mentioned developing the car over the season, which particular aspect of the car required the most attention?
TG: At the start of the year, I told the team members that aerodynamically, the car wasn't up to scratch. We needed to make the car as aerodynamic as possible, and that's where we've put in maximum effort.
TGI: Assuming you aren't forced out of the Indian GP early because of another mechanical issue like last year, what are you targeting this weekend, realistically speaking?
TG: Practically, we're fighting against Caterham. It'll be interesting to see how many cars drop out during the race though we hope there won't be many, more retirements could possibly translate into better scoring positions for the Caterhams and as things stand, they already have an edge over us, so they could very well snatch our position from us on the constructors' table. Plainly, we have to try and give it our best, and hold on to that 10th position in the constructors' standings.
TGI: On a more general note, tell us about your childhood idol - the one personality you looked up to as a kid.
TG: I didn't really have an idol or anyone who I looked up to as a kid, actually. What I have to admit though is Michael Schumacher has somewhat been an inspiration for me, the things that he achieved in Formula One, and I think he was the one who inspired me to get into the world of motorsport.
TGI: Which is the one moment of your racing career that you won't ever forget?
TG: It most certainly has to be my first F1 podium finish in Budapest in 2008, which is followed closely by my championship win in GP2 racing in 2007. Both were equally special moments, but the podium finish is something that will stay etched in my memory forever.
TGI: Apart from your own team members, who are your friends in the pit lane?
TG: A couple of them, I think; Sebastien Vettel and Michael Schumacher are the ones. I spend a lot of time with Schumi between races, and we get along really well.
TGI: Any superstitions that you hold close during a race weekend? Same shoes? Helmet?
TG: Not really, I'm not the superstitious kind. I've never paid attention to any of this, I just listen to some music and go about my business, rather than worrying about wearing a particular shade on my helmet.
TGI: Lastly, this is your second trip to India. What is it that fascinates you most about the country?
TG: The people of India have been fantastic, they have been very warm and welcoming, and one thing that particularly amazes me is the traffic jams that you encounter on a daily basis: not only the jams themselves, but the way people manage to tackle them is very impressive. I enjoy spicy food, and I've tried Indian curries in Europe, but I've heard they've got nothing on the kind of spices dished out in India, so with time I shall do some more exploring with the eyes and taste buds!