Jules Bianchi to replace Luiz Razia at Marussia F1 team
By Berthold Bouman
In a statement issued today, Marussia have confirmed that they have terminated Luiz Razia’s contract, and appointed Jules Bianchi, who was in contention for a race seat at Force India, as second driver to race alongside Briton Max Chilton this season.
Not an entirely unexpected move, as Razia reportedly failed to get the money promised by his sponsors, and Marussia had no other option than to replace him. Bianchi will start testing with immediate effect, and will be driving the Marussia MR02 during the last two test days at Barcelona this weekend.
Team Principal John Booth said, “Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the Paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula One and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae, notably his 2012 season in Formula Renault 3.5 when he was also reserve driver for Force India.”
About terminating Razia’s contract Booth remarked, “We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia. Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.”
Bianchi will start testing tomorrow and Booth said, “Jules can now look forward to a very swift initiation into the team over the course of the next two days here in Barcelona, when he is expected to run for one and a half days to afford both our drivers some dry running with the latest aero specification.”
Bianchi, who lost the race for a seat at Force India, was thrilled with this new chance, “Racing in Formula One this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.”
And the 23-year old driver added, “The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow with my first day in the MR02.”