Cologne, Friday: Speculation has surrounded the security of Timo Glock’s seat at Toyota after the German reportedly refused to drive the team’s new car, carrying controversial sponsorship from a secularist organisation.
The slogan, placed on the team by the National Secular Society of the UK, reads “There’s probably no God – so stop worrying and get on with your life.” Devout believer Glock has apparently told bosses at Toyota that he will not drive a car that so blatantly promotes atheism, as it conflicts with his religious views.
Insiders at the team’s German base have suggested that Glock objects to the phrasing because he found his faith relatively recently, after “Lewis Hamilton put the fear of God into him, before the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. That’s why Timo let him through was passed by Lewis so late in the race – Timo attributed that to, um, divine intervention and has been a regular churchgoer ever since.”
When the prominent slogan was unveiled earlier this week along with Toyota’s new-for-2009 car, it immediately sparked controversy, with a consortium of British journalists filing a complaint to the FIA. “Such divisive and intolerant statements have no place in Formula One,” the complaint read. “British motorsport journalists reserve the right to worship Lewis Hamilton, and refuse to be bullied into believing otherwise by inflammatory assertions posted on rival cars.”
Even “reshuffled” McLaren boss Ron Dennis has weighed into the arguments, taking exception to the National Secular Society’s instruction for people to “stop worrying and get on with … life.”
“Life, especially in motor racing, is not to be enjoyed,” Dennis told reporters at the team’s Woking base. “We believe the slogan should be banned, because it totally contradicts the ethos of hard work and lack of fun we have spent decades cultivating here at McLaren. We can’t have other teams promoting some kind of ‘feel-good’ message when we are trying to discourage such inefficient and wasteful behaviour within our own ranks.”
Reports that McLaren are planning to respond to the campaign with their own slogan, stating “Stop worrying and GET ON WITH YOUR WORK!” appear to be wide of the mark.
Special thanks to Mrs Shrek for inspiration.