Glock signs to drive in Champ Car

UPDATE #9 Glock confirms again on his personal website that he has signed to drive for Rocketsports – "It is going to be an exciting and fun year," said Glock, who topped the times at last week's Sebring test. "Champ Cars is a beautiful challenge and, because the engine and chassis are all the same, the field is certainly very close. More depends on the driver, which I find particularly good. I have the aim already of Rookie of the Year, which would be great," he said. "And if one or more victories jump out, then even better. With success in Champ Car, my position will become better there and in F1," said Glock. 03/29/05 According to Timo Glock's website, he has signed with Rocketsports. We await the official announcement from the team. We have updated our 2005 Champ Car Silly Season Page. 03/23/05 Heard today in Sebring that Glock supposedly has already signed with Rocketsports and will be in Champ Car, not F1, in 2005. Mark C. 03/22/05 Reports in Europe are that Glock and his $4 million are now being courted by Sauber to be their 3rd driver on Fridays. Sauber says he needs $5 million to do it but we suspect he will gladly take the $4 million. If Rocketsports hasn't already signed Glock, he might be lost to F1. We shall see if Rocketsports makes any announcements at the Sebring test this week. If Glock is not testing, it will be telling. 03/13/05 Alex Tagliani has confirmed today to the Toronto Sun that he is out at Rocketsports. Excerpts: Alex Tagliani has been shunted aside by Rocketsports Racing, leaving him on the outside looking in just a month before the start of the 2005 Champ Car World Series season. In an exclusive interview with The Toronto Sun, Tagliani said he was both shocked and hurt to find that team owner Paul Gentilozzi had backed off a handshake deal the pair agreed to after the final 2004 Champ Car race in Mexico City. That deal would have seen Tagliani in the Rocketsports car for three more seasons.

"Me and Paul had a conversation in Mexico City," Tagliani told The Sun. He told me we had a three-year deal. We shook hands on it."

When he began to hear that Rocketsports would be the new home for American Ryan Hunter Reay — with his salary being paid by series co-owners Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven — he sought assurances his position with the team was solid.

Formula One reject Timo Glock, who drove part-time for Jordan until his money ran out, has bought a drive in the second Rocketsports car with a $4-million U.S. deal to bring a sponsor form his native Germany to Gentilozzi. It was then Tagliani was told it was almost certain he would not be back with the team this season.

"It came as a big shock," Tagliani said. "It made me sad. I thought we had a deal."

What made it even tougher to deal with was the fact he considered Gentilozzi a friend. "When I came to this team there was nothing there," Tagliani said of his first season with Rocketsports. "(Gentilozzi and I) built the whole team together with the plan to move to winning a championship."

Tagliani said he has been told by Champ Car officials that he will be in the series this season but it is highly unlikely it will be with a team that is competitive. There also is concern about Tagliani's future from the organizers of Toronto Molson Indy and Molson Indy Montreal — two of Champ Car's biggest events. [Editor's Note: With new young guns Michael Valiante and Andrew Ranger aiming for a seat, losing Tagliani won't be the end of world. Valiante is capable of winning races given the right car/team. Look what he did with Walker's Reynard in Mexico City.]

The Sun has learned that a Molson executive was in Indianapolis Friday trying to get answers from Champ Car as to why Tagliani — a big draw here — was in danger of losing his job. The shabby treatment of Tagliani virtually mirrors what happened to another Canadian Champ Car driver — Patrick Carpentier — in 2004. He was fired from Forsythe's team just before the start of the season after it had brought in Mexican Rudolfo Lavin who had the lucrative Corona beer sponsorship to pay his salary. But Carpentier had a guaranteed contract from the former Player's Racing team that forced Forsythe to keep him in a race car last year.

Once the season ended Carpentier, however, bolted to the rival Indy Racing League. Tagliani, with no guaranteed deal and with the season's first race at Long Beach so close, is now left to scramble for sponsorship to keep him in Champ Car this season. "I am negotiating around the clock with Canadian companies to sponsor me for this season," Tagliani said.

[Editor's Note: We expect to see Tagliani in another car if he can bring at least some money to the table. Meanwhile this may open the door for either Michael Valiante and/or Andrew Ranger. At this stage in their career, Valiante is the faster of the two, but Ranger has some money. Both are talking to Walker Racing who is rumored to have recently signed some key sponsorship deals, meaning Valiante may not need to bring much money. We doubt Champ Car will go with just one Canadian so even if Tagliani didn't find any ride, Canada will be represented. We have updated our 2005 Champ Car Silly Season Page. ]

03/12/05 also reports that another option for Tagliani is Forsythe Racing, to team again with Paul Tracy. There are a lot of drivers scrambling for last minute seats and with Forsythe's capacity to run more than two cars, anything is possible. 03/11/05 This article sheds more light on the Alex Tagliani and Rocketsports situation. Alex Tagliani should know by the end of this weekend where he will call home for the 2005 Champ Car season. After announcing last fall that he had come to a verbal agreement with Rocketsports owner Paul Gentilozzi on a new three year deal, reports of late indicate the Canadian's position with the team is not as secure as first thought. The addition this past week of Ryan Hunter-Reay to the third year team has only clouded the situation for the Canadian. While Tagliani's accomplishments were mentioned, the press release was vague when it came to Hunter-Reay's teammate next season.

Tagliani tells Radio Canada's website that Gentilozzi and fellow Champ Car owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven were intent on keeping Hunter-Reay in the series after Herdez Competition lost its primary sponsorship over the winter. After surveying the landscape, it was determined that Gentilozzi's Rocketsports team was the best option since they had an opening. Complicating matters is the fact former F1 test driver Timo Glock has arrived with four million dollars worth of sponsorship looking for a ride.

Despite announcing his three year deal, Tagliani has yet to formally sign the contract. He is said to be in Quebec this weekend to finalize sponsorship details which should help secure his seat at Rocketsports, should the Glock deal fall through. If he's forced out at Rocketsports, Tagliani says his next best option is HVM, formerly Herdez Competition. But Tagliani is looking forward to building on the success he started at Rocketsports. HVM currently have Mario Dominguez confirmed for the 2005 season and team co-owner Keith Wiggins says they plan to run a second car, despite the loss of their Mexican sponsorship. Whomever they sign would likely have to bring some sponsorship dollars with them to the team.

03/10/05 German website is also reporting that Glock is close to signing with Rocketsports for 2005. 03/10/05 As noted in this Verstappen rumor, RTL5, which is German, may broadcast all Champ Car races live in 2005 in Holland. Timo Glock is German, which will boost his sponsorship deal. 03/10/05 According to this article, Alex Tagliani may take the 2nd seat at HVM if Timo Glock takes his seat at Rocketsports. Meanwhile Glock's manager, Hans-Bernd Kamps, told today – "We are 99% certain to be with Rocketsports, a contract will be signed shortly". Tagliani is expected to have new Quebec sponsors.

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