Thomas De Bock

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Thomas De Bock
Nationality Flag of Belgium svg.png Belgian
Born 10th June, 1986
Heusy, Belgium
Formula One
Debut Season 2009
Latest Season 2010
Current Team
Car Number
Former Teams Toro Rosso
Races 11 (9 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 0
Podiums 0
Points 2
Pole Positions 2
Fastest Laps 0
First Race 2009 Australian Grand Prix
First Victory
Last Victory
Last Race 2010 Spanish Grand Prix
Best Finish 19th (2009)
F1RWRS
Debut Season 2010
Latest Season 2014
Current Team Gillet Ecurie Nationale Belge
Car Number 4
Former Teams Rosenforth Engineering, Team Calinetic, Equipe de Course Belge
Races 72 (66 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 5
Podiums 9
Points 116
Pole Positions 2
Fastest Laps 0
First Race 2010 German Grand Prix
First Victory 2011 Australian Grand Prix
Last Victory 2014 British Grand Prix
Last Race 2014 Japanese Grand Prix (Ongoing)
Best Finish 7th (2 times)


Thomas De Bock (born June 10th 1986 in Heusy, Belgium) is a Belgian racing driver known for competing in Formula One and F1RWRS. He is also known by his nickname, "The Goat".

Early career

De Bock first got into karting at the age of 8, when he and his family had moved to Malaysia. The Formula 1 Grand Prix had not yet been organized, and there was little knowledge about motorsport, apart from sports cars and motorcycles in Shah Alam and Johor. The advantage was that karts were much cheaper than in Europe. His family quickly noticed his interest in karting, and bought a racing kart, which Thomas used to compete in the Malaysian junior go-kart championship, in which he finished second. In 1996, De Bock won the junior championship in his third season. In early 1997, Thomas returned to Belgium, and his results in Malaysia managed to get him into the Precision Motorsports young driver program. He didn't waste any time, and was runner-up in the 1997 Belgian junior kart championship, a title he won the next year, also winning the Benelux championship. In 2000, De Bock was runner-up in the European karting championship, having won the Dutch junior championship in 1999. These results were enough to give the 14-year-old De Bock a seat in the Belgian Formula Ford championship for 2001.

Thomas was fourth in his first season, winning the 2002 season easily, with six wins out of ten races, and quickly moved to British Formula Renault at the age of 17 in 2003. There, De Bock was straddled in an underpowered car and was unable to crack the top 5 in the championship. He still managed to put on some impressive performances, including a lights-to-flag win at Snetterton in 2004. His impressive performances saw him become part of the Red Bull young driver program in 2006 at the age of 19, earning him a seat in International Formula 3. He was only able to finish third in the series with three wins, but his dominant victory at Macao was enough to get him a drive in GP2 for 2007. He wasn't impressive, only finishing 11th with a handful of podiums, but his good turn of form in 2008 saw him net second place in the championship with five race wins, enough to guarantee a Formula One seat at Toro Rosso for 2009.

Formula One and first steps in the F1RWRS

So, De Bock made his Formula One debut at the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, aged 22. He was clearly lacking pace at Melbourne, and also showed a knack of getting penalties quite easily throughout the race, finishing last, 3 laps behind. In Malaysia, he qualified a career best 13th, but only managed 17th and second-last in the race, having been blisteringly quick in the rain, but again being slapped with many penalties. The Chinese Grand Prix was De Bock's best race yet, taking a surprise pole position, but two stop-go penalties meant he only finished 13th in the race. In Bahrain, De Bock qualified second, contfirming his skill as qualifier. In the race, he held the lead for the first ten laps before sadly retiring due to a blown engine. Next was the Spanish Grand Prix, a race where the Toro Rosso team were expecting points from De Bock, who was showing promise but ruining his own races. He responded by taking another pole. In the race, he earned himself two more penalties, but was still third in the closing laps. However, his engine began developing huge problems, and a small spin on the final lap added to the unfortunate final laps. Thomas finally managed seventh in the end, scoring his first career points. Next was the Monaco Grand Prix, where De Bock scored a magnificent pole position, 2.4 seconds ahead of everyone else! However, De Bock's team mate, Sébastien Bourdais, was injured during a crash during the qualifying session, and had to be hospitalized. The Toro Rosso team withdrew from the event, and De Bock was fired from the team due to insufficient performance during the races.

De Bock spent the next few months searching for a drive. In the meantime, he returned to GP2, where he finished fourth, having competed in four less races than his rivals. In early 2010, an opportunity presented itself in the form of the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series, competing with former F1 drivers as well as drivers juggling both championships and complete rookies. One of the drivers juggling both, Dave Simpson, had signed for HRT in Formula 1, but decided to step down to test driver in order to fulfill his F1RWRS commitments. 23-year-old De Bock immediately signed for HRT, confident that he could take part in both series, as he was in a theoretically competitive Rosenforth in the F1RWRS.

At the Bahrain Grand Prix, De Bock surprised the paddock with 16th in qualifying in the HRT, outqualifying an equally impressive Takuma Sato, in what was theoretically a better car. In the race, however, De Bock was one of the numerous victims of botched pitstops having to pit twice and finishing 23rd. In Australia, his pace was more consistant, and he was quicker than his team mate, Karun Chandhok, for the whole weekend, eventually finishing 22nd. In Malaysia, he found a decent amount of pace in the hopeless Hispania, a daring strategy helping him to 19th place, having been as high as fourth during the pitstop phase. The Chinese Grand Prix would be De Bock's last Formula One race, as he was helped by good pace and attrition to his season-best of 16th place. In Spain, however, De Bock experienced a gigantic practice smash, forcing him to sit out the race. He then became a victim of team boss Colin Kolles, as he was fired from the team.

F1RWRS

2010: Rosenforth

De Bock choosing to join the theoretically frontrunning Rosenforth Engineering team seemed like a good idea at first. However, while his teammate Frank Zimmer fought at the front of the field for the whole year, De Bock was unable to get any speed out of his car except for a few occasions.

There were two of those occasions, the first being the Luxembourg Grand Prix. Despite a bad performance in qualifying and a dismal start to the race, he made the most of his strategy and made his way up to fifth place, eventually dropping to seventh at the end of the race, scoring his only points of the year. In Bahrain, he managed to qualify in tenth position, but failed to make an impact during the race and finished in 14th position.

Sick of his lack of pace at Rosenforth, De Bock wanted to change teams, and was hired by Team Calinetic as teammate to defending champion Gary Cameron.

2011: Calinetic

At first, it seemed that De Bock had made a mistake by switching teams, as he was regularly beaten in testing by Phoenix McAllister, his replacement at Rosenforth. With the addition of pre-qualifying, there would also be a distinct possibility of not even starting the race. De Bock fell foul of the rule twice during the year, but then again, so did most of the drivers.

As it turned out, De Bock had indeed made the right choice. While the rosenforth was quicker, the team folded mid-season due to intra-team tensions pushing McAllister to resort to legal action over the team. Meanwhile, De Bock silenced all the naysayers at the Bavarian Grand Prix, after a consistant drive saw him net second place, his first podium. In the next races, he couldn't make a mark, apart from a brief second place at Oschesleben during the pitstop phase.

His next good performance came at his home race, where getting in trouble less than most of the other drivers got him in the lead, before a collision dropped his to third place. With 18 points, Thomas was now fifth in the championship. Then followed five races without a single point, apart from the Kent Grand Prix where, despite finishing outside the points, he managed to score the point for pole position, the first of his career.

His next tangible result was a good one. At Bathurst, Thomas was one of the drivers who avoided the lap 1 carnage, and he took pole position in the second race. He was passed early on by Ashley Watkinson and eventually finished second, but a few more points were welcome.

From then on, Thomas decided to stay calm and bring the points home instead of giving it his all and risk not scoring. In the last four races, he scored thrice, finishing either seventh or eighth. He crashed out of the United States Grand Prix. He scored a total of 34 points that year, a career high, tying for eighth place in the championship.

In the middle of the season, Thomas announced his intention to join the rising Belgian ENB team to bring some experience to the outfit that was new to top-tier open-wheel racing. With the buyout by Gillet, the team looked promising.

2012: Ecurie Nationale Belge

As it turned out, the decision would be a bad one in the short term. While Calinetic failed to pre-qualify for most of the races, they scored high in the first three races, while ENB failed to score at all until the Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst.

The team was in a desperate state at that point. Out of 24 entries, there were 10 DNPQs and five retirements, with the rest being finishes out of the points. Aurelien failed to pre-qualify for the race, what would turn out to be the team's last failure to pre-qualify. Thomas, meanwhile, qualified in the top ten for the second time that season. The race was of such high attrition that only nine cars finished, with none of the frontrunners making it to the end. Thomas stayed out of trouble and picked up an unbelievable maiden victory on his 31st start, a record later broken by Kay Lon.

He later finished third in the season-ending Indianapolis 500, worth double-points. 15 points at Bathurst and 16 at Indy meant that by scoring just twice, he had racked up 31 points, enough for twelfth in the championship, a position that would never have been considered just a few races earlier. With new rules to be enforced for 2013, as well as a complete buyout by Gillet convinced Thomas to stay aboard. In those times, stability would be the best option.

2013-14: Gillet

The season didn't start well for Thomas, as he was slower than Moll from pre-season testing onwards. Even worse, he retired from the opening race due to a driver error.

With the issue found to be qualifying pace, Thomas started to work harder in qualifying, and immediately put his car on the second row of the grid in Mexico. He stayed up front during the race and was in a solid third place, ahead of eventual winner Kay Lon, before a puncture caused his third successive retirement. It was clear that while the Gillet was undoubtedly a quick car, reliability was cruelly lacking, and that the team would need all the finishes they could get.

At Dallas, the Gillets filled up the second row of the grid, and thanks to unreliability by the early leaders looked set for a one-two finish. However, Moll's car called it quits with a few laps remaining, but Thomas took his second career win. In the same situation at Monaco, Thomas led most of the last part of the race before suffering from suspension issues with less than ten laps to go, leaving Sammy Jones then Moll to take the lead, and eventually the race win.

At Oulton Park, despite a disappointing showing in qualifying, De Bock made his way up the field and eventually finished fourth. This would be his second-to-last finish of the season. His last finish was a good one, however. At the Norisring, Thomas qualified fourth and moved up to third. Thanks to his one-stop strategy, he found himself in the lead and never let go, scoring his second win of the season.

That didn't stop him from putting on good performances, such as running second in Belgium with just a few laps left, or retiring at Estoril while fighting for a podium with Ben Fleet. He was also in second place at the Chinese Grand Prix before retiring with 20 laps left. With the promise of increased reliability due to Gillet being one of the only teams to persevere with their chassis by upgrading it.

The car's promising pace in testing didn't immediately translate to pace, and Thomas was well in the midfield for qualifying at the Tasman Grand Prix. He then proceeded to make up the lost ground, and he reached the top ten on lap 30, cracking the points ten laps later. However, with ten laps to go, he was involved in an accident with Nicolas Steele, Jack Christopherson and Mark Dagnall. In eighth at that point, he was able to continue virtually undamaged, and thanks to late-race problems experienced by the drivers ahead, he salvaged the final point in sixth position.

At Bathurst, he qualified fourth and used the attrition ahead of him to win the race and take the championship lead. He kept it until Mexico, where fifth place wasn't near enough to fend off defending champion Mark Dagnall. Thanks to more good fortune at Brands Hatch, Thomas won his second race of the season, leading home Gillet's first ever 1-2 finish.

However, he was unable to mount a consistent challenge to Dagnall, after an uninspired German Grand Prix was followed by an avoidable mistake at the Italian Grand Prix, where he crashed out of a certain podium position. He partially made up for it in Cyprus by finishing in an anonymous sixth place, and was set to finish on the podium once more in Zandvoort had his pit crew not made a mistake when changing a wheel. However, he remains in mathematical contention to the title, being 24 points behind Dagnall with three races left in the season.

Complete Motorsport Results

Career Summary

Year Series Team Position
1994 Malaysian Junior Go-Karts Independent 2nd
1995 Malaysian Junior Go-Karts Independent 3rd
1996 Malaysian Junior Go-Karts Independent 1st
1997 Belgian Junior Kart Championship Precision Motorsports Junior Team 2nd
1998 Belgian Junior Kart Championship Precision Motorsports Junior Team 1st
Benelux Junior Kart Championship Precision Motorsports Junior Team 1st
1999 Dutch Junior Kart Championship Precision Motorsports Junior Team 1st
2000 European Junior Kart Championship Precision Motorsports Junior Team 1st
2001 Belgian Formula Ford Boutsen Motorsports 4th
2002 Belgian Formula Ford Boutsen Motorsports 1st
2003 British Formula Renault Apotex Scorpio Motorsport 13th
2004 British Formula Renault Eurotek Motorsport 10th
2005 British Formula Renault Eurotek Motorsports 11th
2006 International Formula 3 Carlin Motorsport 3rd
Macau Grand Prix Carlin Motorsport 1st
2007 GP2 Trust Team Arden 11th
2008 GP2 Trust Team Arden 2nd
2009 Formula 1 Scuderia Toro Rosso 17th
2010 Formula 1 Hispania Racing Team 24th
F1RWRS Rosenforth Engineering 19th
2011 F1RWRS Team Calinetic 8th
2012 F1RWRS Ecurie Nationale Belge 12th
2013 F1RWRS Gillet - Ecurie Nationale Belge 7th
2014 F1RWRS Gillet - Ecurie Nationale Belge =4th

Complete Formula One Results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 WDC Points
2009 Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso STR4 Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 AUS
19
MAL
17
CHN
13
BHR
Ret
ESP
7
MON
DNS
TUR
GBR
GER
HUN
EUR
BEL
ITA
SIN
JPN
BRA
ABU
19th 2
2010 Hispania Racing F1 Team Hispania F110 Cosworth CA2010 2.4 V8 BHR
23
AUS
22
MAL
19
CHN
16
ESP
DNS
MON TUR CAN EUR GBR GER HUN BEL ITA SIN JPN KOR BRA ABU 24th 0

Complete F1RWRS Results

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DC Pts
2010 Rosenforth Engineering Rosenforth RF10 Jaguar AJ-V8 GER
18
LUX
7
SAX
18
CHN
17
TAS
19
BHR
13
BEL
16
GBR
17
AUS
19
19th 4
2011 Team Calinetic Calinetic CAL2 Ford Boss 302 V8 BAV
2
GER
DNPQ
SAX
14
LUX
Ret
BEL
3
GBR
DNPQ
ENG
10
KEN
13
NED
14
TAS
9
AUS
2
NSW
7
SUR
8
CHN
8
USA
Ret
=8th 34
2012 Equipe de Course Belge ENB JC02 Gillet G32 V10 BAV
Ret
SAX
15
GER
DNPQ
LUX
Ret
BEL
Ret
NED
DNPQ
GBR
13
KEN
DNPQ
ENG
DNPQ
TAS
Ret
SUR
15
NSW
18
AUS
1
CHN
14
USA
16
500
3
12th 31
2013 Gillet Ecurie Nationale Belge Gillet ENB113 Gillet GV10 TAS
Ret
AUS
Ret
MEX
Ret
USA
1
MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
4
GER
1
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
POR
Ret
MED
Ret
MAC
Ret
CHN
Ret
JPN
Ret
BRA
Ret
7th 23
2014 Gillet Ecurie Nationale Belge Gillet ENB114 Gillet GV10 TAS
6
AUS
1
BRA
Ret
MEX
5
USA
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
8
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
MED
6
NED
Ret
MAC
Ret
CHN
Ret
JPN
Ret
7th 24