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Monaco GP: Marussia to focus on tyre management this weekend


By Berthold Bouman

Monaco: GP Marussia to focus on tyre management this weekendThe Russian-Anglo Marussia team is also looking forward to the race in Monaco this weekend, they have had a strong season start, as they managed to outpace their direct rival Caterham. The Monaco Grand Prix is always special, and rookie Jules Bianchi is looking forward to what he considers to be his home Grand Prix.

John Booth: It’s a track which really showcases a driver’s ability

Team Principal John Booth faces a tough challenge this season, but the Monaco Grand Prix is always something special. “Racing around the tight and twisty streets is an unparalleled experience for any driver and Jules [Bianchi] and Max [Chilton] are both very excited and looking to the race weekend with confidence after spending time in the simulator,” he said.

Quizzed about this weekend’s challenges he commented, “It’s a track which really showcases a driver’s ability so we look forward to seeing more of the obvious potential of both of our drivers shining through again. Monaco will not be without its challenges I’m sure and there will be the same heavy focus on tyre management. We do have a few minor developments however, which we hope will keep us moving in the right direction.”

Team Principal John Booth - Photo: Marussia F1

Team Principal John Booth – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: I hope we can put on a good show

Driver Max Chilton is looking forward to his first race in a Formula One car on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, “It’s shaping up to be quite a weekend so I hope we can put on a good show for the benefit of all the partners and guests who are making the trip there.”

“It’s a fascinating track and everything can turn on a knife-edge because of factors like the close proximity of the barriers and the importance of qualifying ahead of our immediate competitors,” the Briton added.

About the recent car developments he commented, “Although this is a very different challenge to Spain, I hope we can carry through some of the benefits we saw from the new developments last time out and have a better showing in Monaco.”

Home GP for Jules Bianchi - Photo: Marussia F1

Home GP for Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi: This season is a dream come true

Frenchman Jules Bianchi feels Monaco is his home Grand Prix and he said ahead of the race, “When I was nine or ten years old and used to go to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, I could never have imagined that one day I would be racing here myself. So much of this season is a dream come true but next weekend is certainly one of the highlights for me. It’s a unique race, a fantastic experience on and off the track and the atmosphere is very special.”

He too, is hoping the Barcelona updates will help the team to make more progress, and Bianchi said, “I would like to think that we can have a strong weekend after some positive signs with the new upgrade in Spain. We were not able to make the best of it on race day there but I hope for better things in Monaco.”

Marussia are now tenth in the Constructors’ Championship, and Bianchi and Chilton are 19th and 22nd respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

• Red Bull Monaco GP Preview
• Ferrari Monaco GP Preview
McLaren Monaco GP Preview
• Lotus Monaco GP Preview
Mercedes Monaco GP Preview
Sauber Monaco GP Preview
Force India Monaco GP Preview
Williams Monaco GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Monaco GP Preview
Caterham Monaco GP Preview
Marussia Monaco GP Preview

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Spanish GP: Marussia – Barcelona is always a very good barometer of car performance


By Berthold Bouman

Spanish GP: Marussia - Barcelona is always a very good barometer of car performanceMarussia is also heading to Barcelona for round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. Like all other teams, Marussia will also bring an updated package to Barcelona, and are hoping to improve their race pace.

John Booth: We head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared

Marussia Team Principal John Booth did enjoy the long three-week break, and said, “We head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared for the start of the next phase of races. It was a whirlwind start to the season for us in some ways and the past few weeks have allowed the drivers in particular to draw a little more breath.”

About the first race on European soil Booth commented, “Barcelona is always an interesting race as it provides a very good barometer of car performance up and down the grid and also the benefit of the new upgrades most teams will bring to their cars.”

Jules Bianchi - Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1

Marussia will also test some new parts at Barcelona, and Booth said, “Having tested here over two weeks pre-season, we’ll be taking the opportunity to use that baseline data to further analyse our progress to date, conducting some back to back work with our Bahrain package prior to fielding our new developments for this race.”

Jules Bianchi: The team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress

Marussia driver Jules Bianchi has been the surprise of the season so far, and he too, is looking forward to race on familiar grounds again. About his Formula One debut he said, “Although my first four races have been quite positive — and a nice adventure for me personally — as a driver in my debut season it is good to be heading into the start of the European season.”

The Frenchman is confident ahead of the race in Spain and commented, “The team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress so it will be good to verify our findings with the package so far and of course to explore our new developments for Spain. I’m looking forward to getting busy in the car again.”

Max Chilton - Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: We’ve learned a lot in the first four races

Max Chilton was clear about the progress the team has made, “We’ve learned a lot in the first four races and quite a lot since, with the technical team having been hard at it in the break. What we bring to the Circuit de Catalunya is the product of four races of evaluation coupled with the next step in our ongoing development path, so it will be interesting to see how we can progress from Bahrain.”

About the circuit the Briton said, “On a personal level this is a track I enjoy and have raced at plenty of times, and that will also be useful as we work through a busy evaluation programme on Friday in particular.”

Marussia are currently 10th in the Constructors’ Championship, Bianchi is 19th, and Chilton 22nd in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Spanish GP Preview
Ferrari Spanish GP Preview
McLaren Spanish GP Preview
Lotus Spanish GP Preview
Mercedes Spanish GP Preview
Sauber Spanish GP Preview
Force India Spanish GP Preview
Williams Spanish GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Spanish GP Preview
Caterham Spanish GP Preview
Marussia Spanish GP Preview


Bahrain GP: Marussia aiming to close the gap to rivals at challenging Sakhir circuit


By Berthold Bouman

Bahrian GP: Marussia aiming to close the gap to rivals at challenging Sakhir circuitMarussia is determined to iron out some of the issues they encountered in Shanghai last weekend, while the team’s reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez will be behind the wheel of Jules Bianchi’s car on Friday morning during the first practice for round four of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix.

John Booth: We need to work hard

Team Principal John Booth knows Bahrain is quite a different circuit compared to Shanghai, and his team will have to work hard to be competitive, “This track represents a different challenge from Shanghai but both drivers have raced here before in the junior formulae, so factors like the track conditions — the heat, the wind, the sand — are not a completely unknown quantity for them.”

“We’ll need to work hard to achieve the right compromise of car set-up, to manage the grip level and cooling demands. The asphalt can also be quite abrasive here, so it will be interesting to see how the tyre story unfolds here through the weekend.”

About the problems they experienced last weekend Booth commented, “We experienced a few frustrations in Shanghai which we are determined to iron out here so that we give ourselves the opportunity to properly showcase our developments and maintain a clearer picture of where we are in respect to the cars ahead.”

Jules Bianchi - Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi: I’m excited to see what we can achieve here

Bianchi is happy with the progress he has made and said, “Although it’s still early days, I am really comfortable with my understanding of the car, the direction we are heading in as a team and where I can continue to develop personally. There’s been a nice pace to the season so far, so although we’ve had just a week before this race, I think it will allow us the chance to consolidate the progress we have made with the interim updates.”

About the circuit he remarked, “There are some tricky features and also the conditions make it even more challenging with the high temperatures. It can also be also be quite windy. I’ve had a bit of experience here in GP2 so it’s good to be back and I’m excited to see what we can achieve here.”

Max Chilton - Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: The updates we brought to China were a good step

Max Chilton is also looking forward to yet another challenging circuit and said, “I’ve raced at the Bahrain International Circuit a few times so I know it to be a great track with quite a few challenging elements to it. It’s one of those circuits that seems to be constantly changing through the weekend, so it will be important to get a positive start in Free Practice to provide a good baseline for us to read the rest of the sessions.”

He is also pleased with the car updates and is confident of a strong showing this weekend, “The updates we brought to China were a good step, so hopefully we can feel more of the benefit of those this weekend. All in all, I’m quite comfortable that things are heading in the right direction now and I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off.”

Also read:

Red Bull Bahrain GP Preview
Ferrari Bahrain GP Preview
McLaren Bahrain GP Preview
Lotus Bahrain GP Preview
Mercedes Bahrain GP Preview
Sauber Bahrain GP Preview
Force India Bahrain GP Preview
Williams Bahrain GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Bahrain GP Preview
Caterham Bahrain GP Preview
Marussia Bahrain GP Preview


Chinese GP: Marussia to test new suspension parts in Shanghai


By Berthold Bouman

Chinese GP: Marussia to test new suspension parts in Shanghai - Photo: Marussia F1Marussia is also ready for round three of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. This weekend’s Grand Prix will be the tenth race on the Shanghai track, a real drivers track similar to Sepang.

John Booth: We will be running some new suspension parts

Marussia’s Team Principal John Booth is satisfied with the start of the season and said, “After such a positive start to the season, I think we are all keen to get back to the racing.”

But there won’t be many major updates available for the race in China and Booth commented, “The cars were freighted directly to China, so while we would not call the upgrades we have for this race comprehensive, they are still significant. We will be running some new suspension parts that we proved out in testing but delayed until we had some further race distance experience with the MR02. We also have some new front and rear brake ducts.”

And he added, “The bigger push will come for Europe, but for now it’s good to be bringing new incremental updates to the car to maintain our positive trajectory. The drivers have spent some time in the simulator during the break and generally they are feeling much better prepared for the next phase of the season.”

Max Chilton - Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: Shanghai a nice challenge with some interesting features

Briton Max Chilton enjoyed the three-week break, but can’t wait to race again. “The break since Malaysia has been really beneficial on the one hand because it has given us the chance to reflect on the first two races and what we need to do to keep on making progress. On the other hand, off the back of the first two races of my Formula One career, it has also felt a bit like an eternity and I can’t wait to head to China now and get back to racing!”

He has never raced on the circuit and Chilton has prepared himself on the simulator, “I only have my experience of watching the races there in the past and my recent simulator work to go by, but it looks like a nice challenge with some interesting features. Shanghai itself will also be a new experience. We have a few updates to the car; so far the developments we have brought have worked well and I’m sure we can keep moving in a positive direction.”

Jules Bianchi - Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1

Jules Bianchi: It’s all about maintaining the momentum now

Frenchman Jules Bianchi has been the surprise of the season, he clearly outperformed his team colleague, and he too, can’t wait to get behind the wheel of his car again. “Things had started out so well that it was almost a shame to have to stop for a few weeks,” Bianchi said.

“I was able to reflect on what has been a bit of a whirlwind, but a very positive start to my first season of Formula One nonetheless. I am quite happy with the progress so far. It’s all about maintaining the momentum now, so it is good to know that we head into the next race with some new developments which should carry us forward again.”

Asked about his aims for this weekend he said, “The target for this race is to keep closing on the guys ahead and be challenging them consistently, lap for lap.”

Marussia is currently tenth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Bianchi and Chilton are 17th and 20th respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Chinese GP Preview
• Ferrari Chinese GP Preview
McLaren Chinese GP Preview
Lotus Chinese GP Preview
Mercedes Chinese GP Preview
Sauber Chinese GP Preview
Force India Chinese GP Preview
Williams Chinese GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Chinese GP Preview
Caterham Chinese GP Preview
Marussia Chinese GP Preview


Malaysian GP: No updates for Marussia, hoping to maintain momentum


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: No updates for Marussia, hoping to maintain momentum - Photo: Marussia F1Marussia have also travelled to Sepang for the second round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Marussia MR02 made a promising debut in Australia, and the Anglo-Russian team is looking to build on the results of Melbourne.

John Booth: No significant changes to the car

Team Principal John Booth was satisfied with the new MR02 and said, “The out-of-the-box reliability and performance of the MR02 has been very pleasing to see, especially as the car is quite a significant evolution of the MR01 and we have had to make the necessary modifications to accommodate KERS for this season.”

He’s hoping to build on the Melbourne success, “Up and down the field, every team will be aiming to make progress and keep developing their package, so we need to maintain our current momentum.”

But there won’t be any car updates said Booth, “Given the tight turnaround between these two races, there won’t be any significant changes to the car. Instead, we’ll be able to look at optimising the set-up for this circuit and gathering more data to send back home in real-time, so our technical team can start working on the next batch of developments for rounds three and four.”

Marussia are hoping to maintain momentum - Photo: Marussia F1

Marussia are hoping to maintain momentum – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: We are close to the mid-field

Max Chilton made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he’s hungry for more action. “It’s time to start thinking about round two in Malaysia this weekend and what we can do to build [on] the momentum. We have shown how close we are to the midfield, so getting within striking distance of that pack is our next target and that is what I’m focusing on,” said the Briton.

And he added, “After such a positive start to the season and an obviously competitive car, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to drive it this weekend.”

Jules Bianchi: Prepared for Sepang on simulator

Also Jules Bianchi made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he too is already looking forward to the second race on the calendar. About his debut the Frenchman commented, “Although my debut went well, there are some areas that I need to work on and where I can improve — as you would expect — so this race we will have a little more time and experience to think about what we need to do to keep pushing forward.”

The conditions in Malaysia will be difficult, but Bianchi thinks he’s well-prepared for his next challenge, “This week I have had the chance to think everything through — what I have learned and where I need to go from here. I had a good debrief with my engineering team and I feel very comfortable, so now I start to think about Malaysia. I’ve done some work in the simulator and I think Sepang is a circuit I’m going to enjoy. I know the challenge it brings in terms of the heat and humidity, so I’m prepared for that.”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Australian GP: Marussia confident in terms of performance and reliability


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Marussia confident in terms of performance and reliability - Photo: Marussia F1Marussia also attracted two new drivers for 2013, Max Chilton replaces Charles Pic, whilst Jules Bianchi takes over the place of Luiz Razia, who was ousted after his sponsor deals fell through. During testing Marussia have shown they might be quicker than archenemy Caterham, which is an exciting prospect ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Team Principal John Booth: We are in our best shape ever

Marussia’s Team Principal John Booth is despite the financial troubles the team encountered optimistic ahead of the 2013 season. “In many ways we are in our best shape ever as a team and everyone is thriving on that and looking forward to what we hope will be a positive 19-race journey ahead. Our new package has performed well in pre-season testing, with encouraging signs in terms of performance and reliability.” he declared.

“But,” he said, “It is still too early to fully appreciate the progress we have made for 2013, as that wide picture has a habit of revealing itself in Melbourne, but we make the long journey there this weekend feeling confident in our direction.”

Marussia practicing pit stops at Barcelona - Photo: Marussia F1

Marussia practicing pit stops at Barcelona – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: I feel totally prepared

Chilton is yet another rookie who can’t wait to get behind the wheel at the opening race of the season. “The past few weeks of pre-season testing have flown by, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the car working on so many different things that I feel totally prepared for what lies ahead now,” said the Briton.

About winter testing he remarked, “We gathered a lot of information with the MR02 in Jerez and Barcelona and at every stage it has been possible to see the benefit of all that learning and development. I hope to continue that in the opening races.”

“I’m looking forward to the experience of Albert Park and the rest of the city, as I’ve heard so many great things about the place and the atmosphere. It’s going to be quite a weekend,” he predicted.

Jules Bianchi: Nice and positive vibe about the team

The past few weeks have been exciting to say the least for Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who was test driver for Force India. “So much has happened over the past couple of weeks that it’s difficult to get my head around the fact that I am about to begin my Formula One racing career in Melbourne next weekend. I guess excitement is the only emotion I’ve had time to experience, there has been so much to do and so many people to meet,” he said.

Bianchi, who’s the grandnephew of 1960s Formula One driver Lucien Bianci, has a good feeling ahead of the season, “Things happen for a reason and I feel confident that we are going to have a very positive season together. There is a nice and positive vibe about the team and good signs from the work that has been done with the MR02.”

He’s confident the Marussia MR02 is a great car and said, “I felt very comfortable based on my previous experiences with other F1 cars I have driven, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the first few races.”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Luiz Razia to race for Marussia this season


By Berthold Bouman

Luiz Razia to race for Marussia this season - Photo: Marussia F1Marussia today announced Liuz Razia will partner Max Chilton this season, the 23-year old Brazilian will already get his first taste of the Marussia MR02 today as the second day of pre-season testing gets underway at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez.

Team Principal John Booth was pleased to finally complete his 2013 driver line-up. “Luiz isn’t new to our team of course, having been reserve driver in our debut season in 2010 and part of our Young Driver Programme. It is therefore very pleasing to have not one but two graduates of that Programme driving for us in 2013, and also very exciting, since both Luiz and Max demonstrated a great deal of potential competing alongside each other in GP2 last season,” Booth commented.

About Razia he said, “When Luiz moved to GP2 in 2011, we had every expectation that he would progress to the extent that he has. He is a very quick and tenacious driver who battled hard to the runner-up spot last year. Together with Max, we are fielding a young but incredibly ambitious pairing and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve.”

The Marussia MR02 at Jerez with Chilton at the wheel - Photo: Marussia F1

The Marussia MR02 at Jerez with Chilton at the wheel – Photo: Marussia F1

Razia said about his new position as racing driver, “I am very proud to take the step up to a Formula One race seat, particularly with the Team I began this journey with, since they helped show me what it takes to progress to the highest level.”

And he added, “This coming season will be all about rewarding the faith the Team have shown in me. I am looking forward to beginning that process in Jerez where we are testing the MR02 for the first time.”

“I am also looking forward to the first race in Melbourne and I’m excited to be racing alongside Max, who I competed ‘against’ last season.”

Timo Glock left the team two weeks ago, as Marussia indicated that they needed a paying driver this season. Whether this was a wise decision or not remains to be seen, neither Chilton nor Razia have any real experience racing a modern Formula One car, and yet they will be responsible for setting up and developing the new Marussia MR02, thus putting Marussia’s future in their hands.


Marussia introduces MR02, new car boosted by KERS


By Berthold Bouman

Marussia introduces MR02, new car boosted by KERSAlso Marussia introduced their 2013 challenger, the MR02, today at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez. One of the main changes is the introduction of the Williams’ designed and supported KERS system which should make the car quicker.

The car is an evolution of the MR01, and Marussia will continue their partnership with Xtrac and Cosworth this season. In a statement Marussia said, “The MR02 will be powered by Cosworth’s CA2013K power unit this season. Our transmission technology partner Xtrac brings an evolution of the 2012 gearbox design, with particular attention paid to increasing the installation stiffness of the suspension.”

The team also continues their partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies, ‘to provide some of the tools which allow us to design and develop an increasingly competitive race car, in particular the use of wind tunnel and simulator’.

John Booth, Marussia’s Team Principal today commented on the new car, “We embark on the first pre-season test of 2013 feeling very positive about our new car — the MR02 — and what lies ahead in this next important chapter in the development of the Marussia F1 Team.”

Marussia Team Principal John Booth - Photo: Marussia F1

Marussia Team Principal John Booth – Photo: Marussia F1

“Whilst we have experienced some changes over the winter, the one area of stability we have enjoyed is the one that is most important to our progression from here, the design of our 2013 race car, led by our Technical Director Pat Symonds.”

About last season Booth said, “The incremental steps we were taking in the latter half of last season gave us the confidence to not only fight hard for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, but to feel encouraged by our overall design direction, which was the basis for the car we are fielding here in Jerez today.”

And he added, “It is early days in our pre-season development programme but there is a great deal of optimism amongst the Team for what lies ahead. With that in mind, we all look forward to seeing the MR02 make its on-track debut later this morning.”

Marussia has only confirmed one driver for this season, the 21-year old Max Chilton, who will take the car through its paces today. Chilton was already test driver for the Anglo-Russian team in 2012 and also drove for the Marussia Carlin GP2 Team, and finished in fourth place of the 2012 GP2 Championship.

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All Photos: Marussia F1


Timo Glock leaves Marussia, new driver to be announced in due time


By Berthold Bouman

Timo Glock leaves Marussia, new driver to be announced in due timeMarussia today announced Timo Glock will, by mutual consent, leave the team with immediate effect. The 30-year old German driver joined Marussia, then named Virgin Racing, at the end of 2009, and according to the UK-based squad Glock played an important role in the development of the team’s car.

Team Principal John Booth said, “Timo has made a very significant contribution to our team over the past three seasons, helping us to develop our package to the point where, for a large proportion of the 2012 season, we were holding 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship.”

“Timo is a fantastic driver and he has been a very popular member of the team.”

Glock said in the official statement, “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 One 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.”

About the next step in his racing career he said, “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.”

Timo Glock leaves Marussia after three years - Photo: Marussia F1

Timo Glock leaves Marussia after three years – Photo: Marussia F1

Glock had a contract until the end of 2014, but nevertheless decided to quit. Although the Marussia statement didn’t address the reason why he left, Booth hinted commercial factors were behind Glock’s exit. “Our team was founded on the principle of benefiting from proven experience whilst also providing opportunities for young emerging talent to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport. Thus far, this philosophy has also been reflected in our commercial model,” Booth said.

And he further explained, “The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future. Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula One teams included.”

Which of course could mean that Glock will be replaced by a paying driver who will race alongside Max Chilton, who has an impressive sponsor portfolio. At the end of 2012 it became clear Marussia needed more funding, as they lost tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship, which is said to be worth some 10 million Euro.

Booth thanked Glock for his work with the Marussia team, “We would like to thank Timo for working with us to reach this decision, especially as he had a valid contract, and also for the contribution he has made to our team. We wish him all the best for his future and I would like to congratulate the next team acquiring the services of such a competitive, professional and experienced racer.”

Asked about Glock’s replacement Booth said, “We will provide an update regarding the completion of our driver line-up in due course.”

This also means there are now not two, but three race seats available for this season as Force India and Caterham also still have to announce their second driver.


Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies left


By Berthold Bouman

Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies leftWith less than four weeks to go before pre-season testing starts at Jerez, Spain, the 2013 driver line-up is almost complete, only Caterham and Force India both have still one vacancy. It is certainly not easy to get into Formula One, but staying there is almost as difficult, as Swiss media reported Sebastien Buemi will again sign as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver after being ousted from Red Bull’s Italian sister team, Toro Rosso, in 2011.

It is highly likely it is all over for the Spanish HRT team, according to veteran driver Pedro de la Rosa, and therefore only 22 drivers will be on the grid when the season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17.

Red Bull Racing

After winning his third consecutive title Sebastian Vettel is confirmed for 2013, while Mark Webber will be the number two driver for the Austrian team, as he recently signed a one-year contract. The pair will drive for the successful team for the fifth consecutive year, but team advisor Helmut Marko is not happy with Webber’s last year’s achievements and has threatened to dump him next year.

Ferrari

Of course championship runner-up Fernando Alonso will stay with the Maranello-based team, he has a contract until 2016. Not much to choose, and also not much to lose either is what Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo must have thought when he signed Felipe Massa for another year. Massa had a bad start of the 2012 season, but wrestled his way back into contention during the second half of the season, and helped Ferrari to clinch second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fernando Alonso - Photo: Ferrari

McLaren

After many mechanical failures, bad pit stops and other disappointments, Lewis Hamilton left the team he grew up with and Jenson Button is now the number one driver, at least for this season. Sergio Perez will drive alongside the Briton, but whether the Mexican driver, who started his career at Sauber, is up to the job remains to be seen. Although he can be very fast, he lacks some experience and often makes mistakes that cost him dearly.

(more…)


Marussia completes driver line-up with Chilton racing alongside Glock in 2013


By Berthold Bouman

Marussia completes driver line-up with Chilton racing alongside Glock in 2013Briton Max Chilton will make his Formula One debut next year as he signed a contract with Marussia to race alongside Timo Glock. The 21-year old will be the fourth Briton in Formula One next year, as Jenson Button will race for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes and Paul di Resta, although not yet officially confirmed, will race for Force India.

Chilton, who was already Marussia’s reserve driver, said in a team statement, “It’s hard to put into words how I’m feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013. I am very fortunate to have spent the last six races with the Marussia F1 Team as reserve driver, which means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed and at ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course, the 2012 package.”

Chilton is now focussing on preparing himself for the 2013 season,” Pre-season testing is just a few weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season.”

Max Chilton - Photo: WikimediaTeam Principal John Boot already had an eye on the young Briton and praised him for his recent achievements, “We felt confident enough in his ability and potential to appoint him to the role of reserve driver in September and since that time his development has been rapid in all aspects.”

And he explained, “First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely capable in the car. Most recently, in Abu Dhabi, he was put to the test in a competitive environment which included providing him with an opportunity to demonstrate his outright pace and consistency over a single lap. We saw just how much he has progressed even since the Silverstone test in the summer and through the succession of GP2 races thereafter, when he achieved two pole positions and two race wins.”

And Boot added, “Not only that, Max very quickly embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact that he is a lively and affable character who we’ve enjoyed having around. Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment for the past three months already – as well as having undertaken a significant part of our simulator programme — Max has already found his feet.”

As most young drivers Chilton started his career in karting but moved on to the British Formula Three Championship in which he participated from 2007 to 2009. In 2010 he made the switch to the prestigious GP2 feeder series, and this year finished in fourth place for the Marussia Carlin GP2 team.


Bottas again leads the way on final day of Young Driver Test


By Berthold Bouman

Williams test and reserve driver Valtteri Bottas again topped the time sheets today at a dry Silverstone circuit. Yesterday the Finn completed 120 laps on the Grand Prix configuration of the track, today he completed 170 laps on the shorter International circuit configuration of Silverstone.

Bottas again fastest at final day of Young Driver Test

Bottas lapped the circuit in 48.963 seconds, second was Marussia’s Max Chilton who posted a fastest time of 49.932s, third was second Marussia driver 19-year old Rio Haryanto with a time of 50.405s.

Bottas said about his second day of testing, “It was another successful day today for the team, with a trouble-free performance and no problems with the car. It was useful to get some longer runs in again today and it was good for me to get a better understanding of the tyres, and how the team works.”

After technical problems hampered Marussia’s testing yesterday, both Chilton and Haryanto today concentrated on gaining enough mileage to obtain a FIA Super License, necessary to drive a Formula One car during an official Formula One event.

With this license both drivers are allowed to take part in the usual Friday and Saturday free practice sessions. Haryanto completed 79 laps during the morning, while Chilton completed 52 laps in the afternoon.

Chilton was positive about his two days of testing, “I’m heading home feeling very happy with how the two days have gone for me. We’ve been particularly lucky as, given the weather in England at the moment, I managed to get two half days of dry running. It has been a fantastic experience and I can’t thank the team enough for the experience and support.”

Haryanto was pleased with the progress he made in the Marussia MR01, “The programme was not easy, and there were a lot of new and different things to learn. The team pushed me hard, but this is what I need to be able to show my potential. We also got a lot of work done for the team to prepare for the next Grand Prix.”

Team Principal John Booth commented, “I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the past two days here at Silverstone keeping a close eye on our two young drivers and I have been very impressed with what I have seen of Max and Rio.”

He was also pleased about the performance of the Marussia team, “From a team perspective we have also been able to mix things up a little in terms of the different roles, swapping a few of the engineers and mechanics around to give them a chance to shine and advance themselves. Everyone has pulled together to make this test a real success, so well done to all on what has been another important chapter in our Young Driver Programme.”

HRT didn’t participate in the second day of the Young Driver Test and instead went home to their factory in Madrid, preparing for the German Grand Prix on July 22, which this year will take place at the Hockenheimring.


Bottas on top of Silverstone Thursday Young Driver Test


By Berthold Bouman

Unfortunately for all young drivers hoping to once make it into Formula One, this year’s Young Driver Test has become a sort of farce, as only HRT, Williams and Marussia will be testing at Silverstone on July 12 and 13. The other teams did not wish to test at Silverstone, but will be conducting their Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 4.

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the Williams today

Driving for Williams today was Valtteri Bottas, who completed several short and long runs. However, the famous British summer struck again as it started to rain towards the end of the day. Bottas commented, “We had a little rain towards the end but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels. It’s been a really useful day for both me and the team. The shorter runs are good fun, especially on this track, but I was particularly looking forward to the longer runs. It was really useful to gather some information on how the tyres behave over the various runs and I feel that I am continuing to improve as a driver.”

Tom McCullough, Williams Race Engineer, was happy with the 22-year old Finn’s performance, “The car was reliable all day allowing us to gather lots of data for evaluation. We had a very ambitious run plan and achieved nearly everything which is a good result. Valtteri drove excellently all day, doing everything we asked of him without putting a foot wrong.”

The Spanish HRT team decided at the last moment to also test at Silverstone instead of Abu Dhabi. Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was the lucky one to get behind of the wheel of the HRT F112, it was his first outing in a Formula One car. “It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time; it’s not easy to put into words what I felt. Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test,” he said.

And he further commented, “By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my team mates and also to work as a team, as it is very important to give the right information to the engineers in order to optimise the performance of the car. In the morning we did the maximum amount of running to get used to the car, engineers and mechanics and buttons, and also to gain confidence.”

Team Principal Louis Perez-Sala stated, “We’re very happy to have given Ma this opportunity and also very satisfied and proud of how it went. We’ve got a lot of trust in him and he has responded by doing a good job. We’ve followed him for a long time and since he joined our programme he’s proven his ability and work capacity. nd today he showed it once more with an excellent job. It’s not easy to drive a Formula 1 car and he made no mistakes.”

For Marussia, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were in the MR01, Chilton was in the car in the morning and Haryato in the afternoon, but both experienced technical problems.

Fastest today was Bottas with a time of 1m31.436s, Chilton was second and fastest for Marussia with a lap of 1m36.558s, Haryanto third with 1m37.404s and Chinese driver Qing Hua was fourth with 1m37.829s in the HRT. Bottas completed 120 laps, Chilton 34, Haryanto 19 and Qing Hua 82.