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Timo Glock is to part company with the Marussia team, leaving three seats still to be filled for the upcoming 2013 F1 season.
The 30-year-old is expected to join the DTM series, in which he will compete for BMW, bringing an end to a nine-year career in F1.
Arguably most famous for being the driver overtaken by Lewis Hamilton when the Englishman claimed the World Championship at the last corner of the 2008 season, Glock has driven for Marussia for the last three years, during which time he failed to score a point as the team strived - and largely struggled - to establish themselves in the sport.
More pertitently, the team have struggled in what they themselves described as 'tough economic conditions' in the official confirmation of Glock's departure.
The loss of 10thplace in the Constructors' Championship - and a windfall of approximately £10m in prize money - to Caterham in November's season-ending Brazilian GP was a hefty below, with some estimates suggesting that their demotion cut the team's budget for 2013 by almost a third.
Something had to give - or, more exactly, someone.
"The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future," admitted a regretful John Booth, the Marussia Team Principal. "Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula 1 teams included. We would like to thank Timo for working with us to reach this decision, especially as he had a valid contract."
Glock's replacement is likely to be a so-called 'pay driver', with Bruno Senna and Sebastian Buemi among those touted as potential team-mates to rookie Max Chilton, although the favourite to succeed the German at Marussia, part-owned by a Russian sports car manufacturer, appears to be Vitaly Petrov, whose appointment would also carry the additional bonus of substantial financial backing.
"I have had three excellent years with the Marussia F1 Team, during which I had the chance to actively participate in building and developing the Team in its endeavours to succeed within the Formula 1 World Championship.
"I would like to wish the team good luck in navigating this next period and thank everyone for the great times we shared and the support I have received," said Glock in a statement. "Although it is not the path I expected to be taking, I am in fact very excited about what the future holds in terms of my own career and I hope to comment on that very soon."
Although widely unexpected, Glock's departure may have been a factor in the ongoing refusal of Force India and Caterham to announce the identity of their 2013 driver line-up in full, with only Charles Pic confirmed at Caterham and Paul di Resta under contract with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Were Petrov, who drove alongside Heikki Kovalainen at Caterham in 2012, to sign for Marussia, it could signal an unexpected retrieve for either the Finn or Bruno Senna, currently out of work after being replaced by Valtteri Bottas at Williams.
Either Adrian Sutil or Jules Bianchi are expected to be named as Di Resta's team-mate at Force India, although the team warned last week that an announcement may not be made before the scheduled launch of the VJM06 on February 1st.