Marussia seeking to retain current line-up
31 July 2013 – Marrusia Team Principal John Booth has stated his desire to retain current drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton for 2014, with the Banbury-based outfit keen to avoid a repeat of the line-up troubles that occurred prior to the start of the 2013 season.
The squad dropped Brazilian Luiz Razia during pre-season, after his muted sponsorship money failed to materialise. That left Chilton to conduct two of the three pre-season winter tests as the team’s sole driver, with Bianchi eventually being drafted in late-on following his rejection by Force India.
As noted in GPUpdate.net’s half-term analysis, having lost the experienced Timo Glock, Marussia now has the youngest combined age of any driver line-up. Despite this, they have so-far scored the joint lowest team retirements, on par with championship leaders Red Bull. With this in mind, Booth says that he is impressed by the consistency of his rookie pairing, and thinks that they are ‘absolutely’ doing enough to secure their seats for another year.
"I'd like to keep them both for next year," he explained to Sky Sports. “At the moment it depends on a variety of contract options. But we don't intend to leave our decision as late as we did for this year. We're hoping to be a bit more comfortable for this year.
"We took a massive gamble with two race novices, but they both had a fair amount of mileage in F1 cars, so it wasn't like they were novices to Formula 1. It's been really impressive as to how few mistakes they've both made.”
With it being confirmed this month that the Anglo-Russian outfit will switch from Cosworth engines to Ferrari powerplants next season, Booth reiterated that any potential deal with Ferrari Academy member Bianchi is not affected by the agreement.
"Jules is a Ferrari young driver, but the two deals are totally separate,” he added. "The powertrain deal has no bearing on Jules' future at all."