By Berthold Bouman
The 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
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
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.
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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
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: 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.
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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: 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: 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.”
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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: 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: 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.
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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
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.”
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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
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.”
• 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
By Berthold Bouman
Teams, drivers and fans are looking forward to the first race of the year: the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. After 12 days of pre-season testing the status quo of the 11 teams is still somewhat nebulous to say the least, some teams, like Red Bull Racing, haven’t shown their trump cards yet, and thus it’s impossible to predict who stands the best chance to win the Australian Grand Prix. In today’s preview: Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, Force India, Williams, Caterham and Marussia.
Red Bull Racing
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber
It’s no secret Red Bull haven’t shown their true pace yet, for the fifth successive season Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will fight for the honours of the Austrian team, Red Bull certainly didn’t want to take any chances by changing their driver line-up. The eternal question raised when hearing the name Webber, is whether he can keep up with his team mate Vettel, the Australian must have heard it dozens of times, for now, we’ll leave this question unanswered and let Webber’s racing do the talking.
Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel – Photo: Red Bull Racing
Red Bull’s test results were certainly not something to write home about, they also encountered some reliability issues, but Vettel wasn’t too concerned after his last test day in Barcelona. “We’re in good enough shape I think. Overall testing has been good for us and we didn’t have too many problems,” Vettel said.
And he added, “If you sum up all three tests I think all the teams were linked in to what the tyres could do and at times it was extremely difficult to read the set-up changes and find a direction because the tyres were always pretty challenging.”
Webber is of course looking forward to his home Grand Prix, “I think we’ve done well and we have made a step forward. As I’ve said before it’s very difficult to see a real pecking order. We’ve just always been focused on what we have to do and not really looked too hard at anyone else.”
But there are some technical issues which have to be addressed, and Webber added, “We have some work to do, for sure, and we have a few things we need to iron out, but that’s the same for everybody.” And indeed, it must be said, last year Red Bull had a slow start, but as soon as designer Adrian Newey got to grips with the problems, Vettel was unstoppable and after the Italian Grand Prix won four successive races, which in the end, opened the door to winning his third successive World Championship.
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Felipe Massa
Again clemency for Felipe Massa after a disastrous 2012 campaign, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo signed the Brazilian for yet another year with the Reds, as he didn’t want to disturb the balance within the team by hiring another driver.
Ferrari were poised to not make the same mistake as last year, when they were playing catch-up almost all season long. Despite the many problems, magician Alonso managed to win three races last year, but he feels this season the car will be better than ever. “I’m confident I can start the season with a better car than the one we had in the first few months of last year,” Alonso said.
Felipe Massa testing the F138 at Barcelona – Photo: Ferrari
“It was actually in the early races that we lost decisive points, when we had a car that was only good enough for seventh,” he explained. “Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance but I think we will do better because I have prepared better and I am more motivated than last year.”
Asked what he expects from Massa he said, “He and I have always helped one another, day by day and I expect him to always be very close to me in terms of performance: what was not normal was the difference between us over the past two years, but now I don’t think that will be the case. That will be a very positive factor for me and especially for the team.”
Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is adamant Ferrari will be fighting for the title until the very last race. He expects to be on the podium in Melbourne, “Unless someone else has done an exceptional job I’m convinced that Ferrari will be in the battle to the end,” said the Italian. “A podium in Australia would be a good base on which to build the kind of successes we need.”
And he added, “For many reasons, however, Melbourne can be considered an important test bench to establish the state of play. I expect that the teams who finished in the top positions in Sao Paulo will repeat that in Melbourne, probably with a reduced advantage — that’s what we are all hoping for, anyway.”
14. Paul di Resta
15. Adrian Sutil
Adrian Sutil must be the happiest driver on the start grid of the Australian Grand Prix, he returned to his former team after his legal problems with Genii CEO Eric Lux after a bar fight in Shanghai, China. “I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well,” said the German.
Paul di Resta, overlooked by the big teams – Photo: Force India
“Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One. Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away.”
Paul di Resta’s job was never in doubt, and he is aiming for a podium position this season. He strongly feels he has been ‘overlooked’ by the big teams, and is determined to show what he’s worth. “I certainly want a podium and then I want to be on it again. That’s the target.”
“But”, he said, “I don’t want to luck-in to a podium. For me it has to be a well-earned top-three finish, one which we can build on. We need to do it on merit, and I certainly believe it’s achievable.” And he added, “If we can do that, then we can push for podiums and, hopefully, move from seventh in the constructors’ championship to fifth. That’s the team goal, and it’s one I believe we can achieve together.”
16. Pastor Maldonado
17. Valtteri Bottas
Williams were the surprise of 2012, after years of misery and mishaps, the team led by Sir Frank Williams, won the Spanish Grand Prix after Pastor Maldonado qualified in second place and outsmarted Alonso during the race. A victory after eight lean years, and Sir Frank was of course happy with his Venezuelan driver, but he was less happy with the performance of Bruno Senna, who was dumped in favour of Valtteri Bottas.
Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams
But Maldonado has no doubts he can win another race for Williams. In an interview with ESPN he said, “We are fighting with mega teams and maybe we don’t have everything to be winning the championships, but I think we are going to win some races and we can be very competitive. I don’t know if we can be at a very high level all through the year, but we are doing our best with the tools we have in the factory to do a good car.”
Rookie Bottas is ready for the first Formula One race of his career, “It feels incredible to be driving in Formula One and to be with a team like Williams, with all its pedigree, is even more special. I’ve worked hard to get here ever since I started karting at six years old, but the real work starts now as I prepare myself for the biggest challenge of my career.”
After the final test day he said, “Overall, it has been a productive winter test and I’ve achieved what I wanted to from it. The car has been really reliable and now I feel fully prepared for the start of the season.”
20. Charles Pic
21. Giedo van der Garde
Caterham took a gamble this season by signing rookie Giedo van der Garde, while the experienced Heikki Kovalainen was ousted in favour of Charles Pic, who will start his second full Formula One season after his rookie season with Marussia. Both drivers were successful in the GP2 feeder series, but Formula One is of course something quite different.
Rookie Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1
Pic said after the recent test days at Jerez and Barcelona, “It was also important to use the tests to familiarise myself with the whole team. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone — there’s a good atmosphere inside the team and we’re realistic about what we can achieve this year so we’ll go into the season with a good spirit and aim to take advantage of anything that comes our way when the races start.”
Dutchman van der Garde saw his dream finally come true, “I know I am ready to take the step up to Formula One and all the work I have done throughout my career, and particularly in the last year with this team, has brought me to my ultimate goal.”
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul, who took over from Tony Fernandes, will no longer be satisfied with tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship, “We can’t satisfy ourselves anymore by being the best of the new teams,” he said. “I think we need to be doing better than that and we need to demonstrate that we can be doing better than that.”
22. Jules Bianchi
23. Max Chilton
Marussia originally signed Brazilian Luiz Razia, but his contract was shredded after his Brazilian sponsors let him down, and Marussia signed Jules Bianchi instead. Marussia was clear about the 2013 season: they had to hire to pay drivers to survive, and that was the reason why Timo Glock suddenly left the team.
Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F
Team Principal John Booth said about the 2013 season, “We embark on the first real 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.”
“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.” And Marussia have already made progress during testing, it seems they are faster than Caterham this year, much to the delight of Booth.
“Overall I think we have achieved as much preparation as possible to take us into the opening race in Melbourne. Max [Chilton] has a bit of everything under his belt after so much time in the car across a variety of conditions and set-ups. Jules [Bianchi] has done a good job in the limited amount of time he has had in the MR02. I’m not sure we could have asked any more of either of them.”
Tomorrow part 2: McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso
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.”
By Berthold Bouman
Williams development driver Susie Wolff is the star of a BBC documentary about her life as a racing driver, currently she’s the only female driver in in the pinnacle of motorsport: Formula One.
Wolff is very likely to become the next female Formula One driver, the documentary, ‘The fastest woman in the world,’ follows her career in a male dominated sport.
A statement on her website read, “Directed by her award-winning, BAFTA-nominated brother David Stoddart, 31, the no-holds-barred film will be broadcast as part of BBC Scotland’s spring schedule, and features appearances from Formula One race ace Lewis Hamilton and racing legend David Coulthard.”
Wolff, from Oban in Scotland, commented, “Shooting the film was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m a fairly private person, so to have my brother follow me for nine months, through some pretty difficult times — let’s just say it was a big challenge.”
Her brother David agreed, “It was tough combining the role of documentary maker and brother. You have to remember you’re there to film Susie’s story, but during the more difficult moments your instinct as a brother kicks in. It was challenging at times to strike the balance, but it’s a great story that needed to be told.”
And he added, “Susie was very open and honest, and I’m enormously grateful to her for that, and for giving me a rare glimpse into life in Formula One.”
Susie Wolff is development driver for the Williams F1 team – Photo: Williams F1
Wolff started her race career — like most drivers — in karting when she was eight. In 2003 Wolff was one of the finalists of the prestigious BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. She’s married to Toto Wolff, who left his job at Williams earlier this year to become Mercedes’ Head of Motorsport.
Wolff starred in the German touring car championship (DTM) for seven years, she drove for Mucke Motorsport and later for Persson Motorsport. At the end of the 2012 season she announced she would retire from the DTM series to prepare for her role as Formula One driver.
About her racing career she said, “I don’t race to prove how good women can be against men. I race because it’s my passion and I hope this documentary will give an insight into a very competitive world, in which I’ve been racing since I was a young girl.”
Last woman to participate in a Formula One race was Italian Lella Lombardi. Wolff is now the only female driver in Formula One, as Maria de Villota’s career abruptly ended after a crash at the Duxford Aerodrome while testing for the Marussia Formula One team.
‘The Fastest Woman in the World’ will premiere on BBC2 Scotland in spring.
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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
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.
By Berthold Bouman
Also 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
“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.
All Photos: Marussia F1
By Berthold Bouman
After a successful test in Valencia, Spain, Timo Glock secured a race seat at the BMW DTM team for the 2013 season. Glock, who agreed to leave the Marussia Formula One team earlier this week, will be BMW’s eighth driver and will race alongside current DTM champion Bruno Spengler (CA), Augusto Farfus (BR), Joey Hand (US), Andy Priaulx (GB), Martin Tomczyk (DE), Dirk Werner (DE) and Marco Wittmann (DE).
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt commented on Glock’s appointment, “We are delighted to have Timo Glock back at BMW Motorsport. Over the course of his career, Timo has proven on more than one occasion how valuable he is to any team, thanks to his driving ability and open manner.”
And he added, “The fact that he is now returning to the BMW family six years after leaving his role as test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team makes this appointment all the more pleasing. I am confident Timo will take no time at all to find his feet in the DTM and will give the fans a lot of pleasure.”
Timo Glock in the BMW M3 DTM car at Valencia – Photo: BMW Motorsport
Glock is looking forward to the new challenge, “I had a fantastic time in Formula One, but am now looking forward to battling for victories again with my old friends at BMW Motorsport. That is the approach I shall be taking to the challenge of the DTM. I am obviously aware I will have to adapt to a few areas. Not all former Formula One drivers have found their feet immediately in the DTM.”
The 30-year old German driver, who spent five years of his race career in Formula One, had no problems adapting to the BMW M3 DTM car , “As someone who has spent many years driving in single-seaters, it was obviously very different for me to suddenly find myself in a car with a roof over my head. Fortunately the BMW M3 DTM made it very easy for me to adapt. The same goes for the members of the BMW Motorsport team, who welcomed me with open arms.”
About the past three years with Marussia he commented, “It was not always easy to spend three years in Formula One regularly watching other drivers from behind who were sometimes doing a worse job than me, but were still way ahead as they were in better cars. You want to finally be back challenging at the front of the field again and are hungry for good results. This hunger became more intense over the winter. Now is the right time for me to make a change. I am really up for the DTM!”
Asked about his goals for his debut season he said, “Even though I will initially have an awful lot to learn, I would obviously like to be in the points and, where possible, challenge for podiums. Augusto Farfus showed in 2012 what can be achieved as a rookie. That is driving me on. I want to get the very maximum out of my package and claim the best results possible for BMW.”
The DTM season starts at May 5 at the German Hockenheimring, and will end on October 20 on the same circuit. This season there are ten races, and one show event scheduled.
By Berthold Bouman
After his sudden departure from the Marussia Formula One team, Timo Glock will this week test a BMW M3 DTM car . The 30-year old German driver will test the BMW M3 on the Circuit de la Comunitat in Valencia, Spain.
In a statement BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “We are pleased to be able to offer Timo Glock the opportunity to get to know our BMW M3 DTM in Valencia. Timo has demonstrated his driving ability over many years, particularly in Formula One. It is made all the nicer by the fact that he is, to a certain degree, returning to his roots in testing for BMW Motorsport.”
Glock, who yesterday hinted he already had made some plans for the future, was of course happy with the opportunity given by BMW. “I have fond memories of my time with BMW Motorsport and am very excited about testing the BMW M3 DTM,” said Glock. “Furthermore, I am bound to see a few familiar faces in Valencia from my previous time with BMW. I am really looking forward to it,” said the German.
Glock and BMW already worked together in 2000 and 2001, and won the Formula BMW ADAC title in 2001.
Glock is a very experienced driver, he drove for Jordan four times in 2004 to replace Giorgio Pantano, and then spent one year in the American Champcar Series in 2005 — where he finished the season in eighth place — before he tried his luck in the GP2 series in 2006 and 2007. In 2007 he not only won the GP2 title, but he also re-started his Formula One career in 2007, as he was also appointed as the official test driver of the BMW Sauber Formula One team.
In 2008 Glock moved to the Japanese Toyota Formula One team, and did a pretty good job as he finished tenth in the Drivers’ Championship in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he started his three-year stint with Marussia, then Virgin Racing (2010), and later Marussia Virgin Racing (2011).
Yesterday Marussia and Glock announced they would part company although he had a valid contract until the end of 2014.
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia 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
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.
By Berthold Bouman
Briton 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.”
Team 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.