Timo Scheider’s DTM column: Some advice for my friend Timo Glock
Dear motorsport fans and followers of the DTM,
There are some seasons in which nothing seems to go right, nothing seems to work properly and you don’t get any lucky breaks. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put in, it’s like you’ve been jinxed. You just seem to be going backwards, with one sucker punch after another. Frustrating.
That’s precisely how things are going for Timo Glock at the moment. It’s turning out to be a year to forget, and we’re only just reaching the halfway stage with the upcoming race weekend in Assen.
As friends, we’re very frank and open with each other, and we don’t shy away from discussing the sporting difficulties he experiences. Obviously, there are certain things that have to remain confidential, as you would expect with friends.
But I know what it’s like to go through such a sticky patch. When you’re busting a gut to get back into winning ways and then along comes some wise guy like me and puts their oar in.
He has shown that he is one of the few drivers who can come to the DTM from a Formula 1 background and instantly establish himself among the front-runners. Unfortunately, he hasn’t managed to do it on a consistent basis. It’s disappointing to see how his year has gone so far. What I’ve noticed about him is that things start well but then gradually tail off.
No simple answers
That has an impact: at the first bad result, you immediately think about past seasons and hope that the pattern is not going to repeat itself. Just the thought, this fear of a slump has the effect of convincing a driver that you no longer have luck on your side. Then, when the next stroke of bad luck comes along, you’re unable to lift yourself out of the downwards spiral and you start looking for explanations. But there are no simple answers to the question “why?”.
Over and above that, you’ve got a lot of external pressures: the motor racing press and opinion columns like this one. When Timo reads them, there is some content that he will like, but also other content that will give him pause for thought. That sort of criticism can really hurt, and you have to try to stop it getting to you.
In most racing drivers’ careers, there are usually going to be more defeats than victories. So you have to build up the mental strength that helps you to carry on after a defeat. I believe that it is possible to change things with positive thinking. Positivity can help you to deal with difficult situations and setbacks and to dig yourself out of a hole.
That might well be the right way for Timo to deal with the situation. But maybe there will come a point at which he will need to make serious changes, for example switching to another team or even another racing series in search of new motivation. My advice to him is, ask yourself if you still enjoy what you are doing? Perhaps the answer to that question will provide a solution to one of the problems or even show the way to go in the future.
One driver who is experiencing the exact opposite to Timo at the moment is Rene Rast. Everything seems to be going just right. In his case too, it’s hard to explain why. It looks like it just comes naturally to him.
Rast doing things ‘Hamilton style’
He says something banal, gets into the car and beats everyone else in the field hands down – it’s almost ‘Hamilton style’. In any critical situation, he always seems to have luck on his side or to make exactly the right decision. He carries on surprising the whole of the DTM – opponents and team mates alike. No-one has so far managed to emulate him.
It is clear that, with this level of success, you start to feel more comfortable in yourself. Things that have bothered you for years are suddenly working. Doubts? These are far from your mind.
The interesting thing is that I was able to observe him during DTM trials before he first entered the series in 2017, and he was always far too slow compared to most other drivers. It was disappointing: he made out he was the best but never gave any actual evidence to support that. But seeing how he has developed now, it’s clear that he is a hard worker, one who analyses what may have gone wrong and who has the talent to learn from his mistakes.
His tilt at the title: He comes close to delivering 100 percent and is on a roll. And even when things are not going entirely his way, he manages to find a workaround. That’s why he is also the clear favourite to win at Assen. And to keep winning for the rest of the season.
So, on that note, have fun whether you’re going to Assen or watching it on ran racing on SAT1.
Best wishes Timo Scheider