Some unfinished business
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Bianchi points could prove a lifeline for low budget Marussia team
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Posted By: James Allen  |  25 May 2014   |  11:28 pm GMT  |  58 comments

Jules Bianchi’s remarkable drive to 9th place in the Monaco Grand Prix gave his Marussia team its first world championship points and a huge boost to its prospects of staying alive in F1.

Marussia is one of a number of teams that are close to the edge financially and this result could turn out to be a lifeline.

“It is tough and I would be lying if I didn’t reflect that,” said Sporting Director Graeme Lowden.

The Banbury based team are in their fifth season in F1, the last of the three teams selected by Max Mosley’s FIA regime in 2009 to enter the sport for 2010. US F1 never made it and HRT folded.

Caterham, which was awarded a place on the grid after the others, is still around, but owner Tony Fernandes has clearly fallen out of love with the sport as the team continues to struggle and it is an open secret that he has put it up for sale.

Marussia is owned by wealthy Russian scientist Andrei Cheglakov (above with Bianchi), who was in Monaco to see the race. He has had to give the team hand-outs to keep it afloat and the fact that he can now see progress will probably increase his desire to keep supporting the team.

It could also yield valuable prize money at the end of the season, if it the team can stay eighth ahead of Sauber and Caterham, who have not scored a point so far this season.

“What we are really pleased about that it’s a sign of progress,” said Lowdon. “We only have 196 people. This is direct reward for people who have worked very hard.

“The money paid in the sport is based on results at the end of the season. We known from Brazil 2012 it can all change in a final moment. That had reprecussions in the tens of millions.

“We are only part way through this season, so we keep our feet on the ground.”


Jules Bianchi put in a stunning drive, starting on the soft tyres and pitting for supersofts with over 50 laps to go. He picked up places as others suffered misfortunes and despite dropping from 8th to 9th after a 5 second penalty was added to his race time, he said that improvements at the recent Barcelona test had given the team confidence that a good result was possible in Monaco. They were disappointed after qualifying, especially when Bianchi had to start at the back of the grid with a gearbox penalty.

“The car was much more balanced and that’s why it made it much better for this race,” said Bianchi.

“Now, we have to keep our feet on the ground. We scored points, which is good, but without good luck we won’t be able to be in the points.”

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58 Comments
  1. olderguysrule says:

    jules, the drive of the day. and my “x” thinks he’s a hottie.

    1. matty says:

      mine too

  2. Starbug1 says:

    One of the best feel good stories of the weekend IMO

  3. Mitchw says:

    The handwriting is on the wall, F1 is going spec series. If you listen to Claire Williams, there will be customer cars in the near future. There simply isn’t the sponsor support to employ so many engineers.

    But don’t worry yourselves, anoraks, there will be ample opportunity to browbeat the critics. You win again, whirpool argonauts.

    1. james encore says:

      Some of us think the best F1 car ever made was Mansell’s FW14B. At the time Williams employed about as many people as Marussia do now. If you look at the 1987 Williams or 1988 McLaren they were produced by fewer people. And the teams had a race team and a test team.

      Williams employ 3 or 4 times as many people today as in the glory days. TV money has gone up a bit, prize money too but they must be getting a smaller share of it. So the sponsors must be funding a lot more engineers than they once did… But I doubt that is sustainable.

      Can you imagine Ferrari with 1,000 or so people on the payroll and thinking “800 people more than Marussia, and we can only manage to go 1.6 seconds a lap faster round Monaco ?” That’s 2 thousandths of second per employee.

      And if you have a bad day at work next week, thank your deity of choice that you work for Ron Dennis; because he will have will have compared these Monaco fastest laps
      Bianci 1:21.254
      Button 1:21.047
      Magnussen 1:20.654

      He’s going to be demanding “I have no title sponsor, and I’m employing all these people to build a car 6 tenths faster than Marussia. Would you sponsor a team with this payroll and that result” (3 races in a row with both cars lapped is pretty ignominious for McLaren as well, bears with sore heads will have nothing on Ron right now)

      If the old rules of point meaning you get your freight paid apply – even before places in the championship and prize money apply, it must feel like Christmas at Marussia by comparison.

      1. askeptic says:

        The immense size of F1 teams:
        Just think how many people you have to have to transport, erect, man, disassemble, and load up, those immense Hospitality Centers and Private Team Centers that clog the paddock.

      2. Kevin says:

        I have always thought the best idea for cost cutting was to remove non-essential telemetry. Make it like Moto GP, where the rider gives feedback on the handling of the bike and the engineers make the best decision in the time the have.
        I have heard there are approximately 60 people in the big teams monitoring every nut and bolt on the car, the drivers are basically told what is the best direction to take setup because the engineers know what is going on and where to do before the cars are back in there garage.
        It would improve the spectacle of the sport and save heaps of money.

    2. Lindsay says:

      What

    3. BamBam says:

      I agree

      But if the sport is to survive then the massive disproportionate amount of funding that Ferrari get from the F1 association every year compared to every other team needs to be slashed.

      Why the hell should they get more than any other team , it should be an even playing field

      1. Justin says:

        People seam to think that it’s only Ferrari who receive extra money from the FIA but McLaren, Lotus, Enstone team, and Williams also get extra $10s of millions for their “historical importance to the sport”. It’s not as much as Ferrari as they haven’t been around since F1′s inception like Ferrari, but it is still a very significant amount, like more than $30 million significant.

  4. Anil Parmar says:

    The move he pulled on Kobayashi was brilliant! They touched 3 times as they went through the corner..reminds me of Kamui’s move on a toro rosso back in 2010 at Suzuka.

    Well done Marussia. It was brilliant seeing them celebrate like that, they really deserved it.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      It was quite literally a Kobyashi manoeuvre on Kobi.

    2. Chris Chong says:

      Only difference was that he hit and damaged Kamui’s side pods, thus ruining his race.

    3. jk says:

      It sounds like you saw the move. I couldn’t see it on my broadcast. Was the move on Kamui fair? It is alleged that there was contact, damaging his car. What’s your opinion?

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Kamui left the door open after Raikkonen went past out of the swimming pool and Bianchi pounced. It was a fair move IMO and the contacts were small, there certainly couldn’t have been much damage on Kobayashi’s car.

      2. jk says:

        I think Kamui gave the place to Kimi, because he missed the pool chicane and didn’t want penalty.

        And about the third contact, he had more than enough space. Jules lost the rear by spinning, Kamui was the barrier that speed the potential spin. Jules was too aggressive on exit, the back slipped, contact happened. Jules lost control. Fact. Otherwise, it was an intentional contact. The radius was too much for Jules to get proper traction for good exit speed, and had he not contracted Kamui, it it’s doubtful that he could have kept the place, because he was still a half a car length behind.

      3. Chris Chong says:

        http://youtu.be/SbkAxvNgghY

        Doesn’t look very fair to me. He basically bumped into Kobayashi a few times, the last hit taking off a bit of bodywork (you can see it in the slow-mo overhead replay).

        This is completely different to Kamui’s pass on Jaime’s Torro Rosso in Suzuka – in that instance, Kamui passed on the outside and Jaime tried to close the door but ended up bumping wheels, nearly pushing Kamui off the track.

      4. jk says:

        Thanks for the link! Now I understand better, and also understand why Kamui was so annoyed in his post race interview.
        I dunno if we are in the minority here, but i agree with you.

        Unintentional from Jules, but clumsy at best, maybe lucky that there was no penalty.

        For those who said it was a cool move or a classy overtake… it was neither neat nor clean.

      5. RichB says:

        stewards say it was fair

      6. jk says:

        Thanks for the reply, but figured that bit out already, since no penalty was announced. I have read comments elsewhere that move was far from clean or fair. If it damaged his sidepod and his floorboard, I can imagine that it was a substantial contact (or 3).

        Not sure who the stewards of the day were, but, were they asleep?

        When was the last time an overtaker caused damage in process, ruined someone’s race and was unpunished?

        I read a Kimi interview, and he says the stewards, who summoned him, did not even bring up the topic of a backmarker ruining his race making him pit twice, but only his coming together at the chicane.

        Seriously, who were the clowns?

        Also,I guess rules are rules, but Jules only having 5 seconds added to his total time for not doing his 5 seconds stop penalty is a joke, and not the same, nor fair to the others who also got the penalty at the back for misalignment on the grid

      7. Andrew Carter says:

        I distrust anyone that says “Fact” to back up what is obviously an opinion.

    4. dan says:

      Although it was a great move on Kobyashi, I’m confused with the rules nowadays about what could constitute some sort of “aggresive driving” penalty. In other races, drivers seem to get penalised for seemingly much lighter driving.

      Would he have been penalised if Kobyashi had gone into the wall afterwards? It’s nice to see drivers really fighting for positions, I’m just surprised that *some* infringement wasn’t attempted to be applied by the stewards – who usually seem keen to muffle on track exceitement by applying some arbitrary rule.

      1. Martin says:

        If you look at the situation, Bianchi caught Kobayashi out due to Kobayashi having to let Raikkonen by due to cutting the chicane. Kobayashi was not at full speed. Therefore there is no evidence that Bianchi used Kobayashi to slow down, just that he stuck he car into a half gap.

        The situation was similar to Perez and Button where Perez was wide into the corner and that created a space for Button to take a look at. In both cases we had the leading driver having made an error or being out of position trying to close the door. If the first part hadn’t happened then Button and Bianchi would have been penalised for punting someone off. Equally if Button or Bianchi were using Perez or Kobayahsi to slow down to make the corner then it would have been a penalty in my view.

  5. Kramgp says:

    A great result for the whole team. Would I be right in thinking most F1 fans like to see these smaller teams getting a good result after all the hard work and long hours they put in. The race isn’t just about ones favourite driver or team but about the whole event and close battles through the field.

  6. HP says:

    Another reason for Tony Fernandes sell Caterham, he will be in a hurry sell it off no doubt.

    1. Triangle says:

      Probably the sooner the better as far as he’s concerned. He’s going to need all the Caterham money to pay the wages of the countless players Harry Redknapp signs for QPR this summer on colossal salaries

  7. Gabo Rochinotti says:

    During last season Bianchi had been faster than his much praised teammate (well, praised by the English media) and this year he was on top of the back pack. On Sunday he finally proved he’s in another class. He is fast, agressive, determined and smart, plus he has links with Ferrari: a future world champion, IMO.

    1. F1 Badger says:

      Bianchi has always been faster than Chilton. The only positive thing I’ve read about Chilton in our media is his 100% finishing record. That’s always coupled with the fact that he is reliable but slow. I think you misjudge the English media. Of course I’d happily be corrected if you can link such a story (with provenance).

    2. Martin says:

      I agree that Bianchi is the better driver, but I will give Chilton the credit that he has lifted his game to being only slightly behind Bianchi now, rather than 0.5 to 1.5 seconds behind.

      Chilton is clearly a driver who takes quite a while to adapt to cars and I suspect that if we had a wet race with varying rain levels that he wouldn’t be particularly good at managing changing conditions.

      Bianchi is good enough to be worthy of a top line team. Whether that team ever gives him a championship competitive car is another matter. I did notice a story about him being mugged for his watch when he went outside a club for smoke. In contrast to the story focus on the robbery, I wondered why is he smoking? (I could say because he is French) it just raised a discipline question, although Schumacher was known to have the odd cigar.

  8. Steve Zodiac says:

    Always thought Tony Fernandez would lead the way, very disappointed that he seems to have thrown in the towel. However the outfit never seemed quite the same after losing the Team Lotus battle, this made all the more bitter as Proton didn’t really want it either in the end. Certainly never thought Marrusia would be first into the points! Well done to them but don’t try CFD only again, it’s not a good enough science yet and may never be.

    1. Monktonnik says:

      I really thought it would be Caterham first.

      I like the way they go racing, and nothing against Marussia but I find the news a little bitter-sweet on that basis.

      Having said that, genuine congratulations to Marussia and Bianchi. That was a huge achievement.

  9. LBV says:

    congrats Marussia!

  10. jk says:

    Dear James,

    I will hold off on the celebration until the allegations are cleared.

    Kamui says that he was banged/hit on the sidepod, which pushed him aside, creating the space necessary for the overtake. This damaged Kamui`s car, without which he was confident of finishing in the points.

    Does anyone have the footage of this move?

    If the allegations are true, why where there no investigation by the stewards?

    Either it was a bitter comment from Kamui full of disappointment, or there is an element of truth in it.

    I did not see it on my free broadcast…maybe someone with paid view got a glimpse?

    The point is, if the overtaker was innocent, all is fine, but if not, it damaged the very car which could have got those exact points, turning the table between Marrusia and Caterham…

    1. littleredkelpie says:

      There is no question that the cars touched 3 times during the move and that several ‘small bits’ of car (they looked white) skated across the road as a result. Hard to imagine the damage was much more than cosmetic, but, who knows.

    2. Ryan says:

      The over take was going in to Rascasse. Raikkonen had just gone straight past Kamui and Bianchi saw the door open so went for it. Kamui didn’t defend against Kimi almost moving over for him and when Jules followed Kimi through the gap Kamui tried to close the door on him, unfortunately Jules was already half way through the door so at two different points Kamui tried to turn in on Jules and force him to back off and the third and final contact was at the exit of Rascasse when Jules had a bit of slide and his left rear made contact with the sidepod of Kamui.

      If anything Kamui was at fault for trying to not give Jules atleast one cars width

      1. jk says:

        I just checked the YouTube footage, and now understand the incident better. A guy posted a link a few posts above.

        I guess it can be called a racing incident, but a bit clumsy and lucky from Jules. There is no doubt in my mind that Kamui was turning in already for the first part of the corner when Jules tucked his noise in. Kamui was caught out, and surprised, maybe the first contact can be called a racing incident.
        But the last contact, in the second part of the right corner, Jules had more than a cars width, he lost control and slid, right? Clear for all to see that it was not intentional, but the fact is, even though it was a mistake, it was avoidable mistake committed by Jules, and not Kamui.

        Jules neatly killed two birds with one stone and got away with it, because only Kamui was up to the task of battling with Jules to the end for the very same points to determine which team scored more points.

  11. Nadeem says:

    Great job by Jules. So happy for the team. I was surprised though that this hasn’t got as much publicity as its first time a new team has got points. I hope they get a bit more press coverage.

  12. JohnBt says:

    Bianchi drove well but let’s not overhype their single point haul as you know how many retirements there were. F1 is in this situation that any underdog making news is a sensation.

    But I’ll still congratulate Marussia.

    1. James Allen says:

      2pts…

      That’s epic when you are Marussia, also ahead of Sauber now

      Because Gutierrez threw away a good result yesterday

      1. S. Butts says:

        Did James Allen just use the word epic?

        Love it. :)

      2. Monktonnik says:

        It occurs to me that one of the problems the new teams have is the increased reliability of the rest of the field.

        It wasn’t completely unusual for half the field not to finish in the 80′s or 90′s and part of their comparative difficulty in scoring points so far must be because of this.

      3. Joe S says:

        Correction on the article, Marussia are 9th, not 8th. And Sauber will undoubtedly jump above them soon enough.

        I miss the time when, before these newer teams came in, the field was closer. Think around 2 seconds covered the whole field. I wish Caterham and Marussia were gone and that the US team weren’t coming in. They make up the B-class and there should not be one in F1. They’ve been in the sport for over four years now. Not much has changed for them. Neither Marussia or Caterham will score again this season barring some crazy race.

      4. askeptic says:

        Half the field?
        I can remember a Monaco or two when points were only paid down six places, and there weren’t that many runners at the end.

    2. RodgerT says:

      It’s always been hard for teams lower down the grid to score points on merit alone and they were defendant on the poorer reliability of the era to score points.

      In these days of high reliability and stratification of teams based mostly on how much money is available it’s a quarter of the way into the fifth season for one of the new teams to score whereas if they joined ten years before that it might have only taken two.

  13. Andrew M says:

    To be fair, good as this result is, it doesn’t really represent “progress”. Bianchi didn’t actually beat any if the regular cars on pace*, he just put his car in the best position he could (lead Caterham/Marussia) and picked up positions as the others fell off. Which is a good drive, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like this represents a step forward in performance or anything, this was very definitely a one off.

    *except possibly for Grosjean, don’t remember him having any incidents but he always seemed to be trundling round at the back.

  14. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Don’t teams have to pay the FIA for entry to the next season based on how many point they accumulate?
    So if these 2 points end up making no difference to Marussia’s final standing (e.g. if Sauber outscore them, putting Marussia into 10th place overall), then they will still only get the 10th place prize money, but then they have to pay the FIA because they scored points.

    This could end up costing them in the long run, which is just plain wrong in my opinion.

    1. Mhilgtx says:

      Seems like a little research is needed on that. I don’t recall the FIA charging the tens of millions of euros that those 2 points should garner for Marrusia. Heck it’s almost enough money to pay for these cost cutting engines

    2. iceman says:

      Yes the entry fee is $500,000 + $5000 per point.

  15. BusinessF1 says:

    “if it the team can stay eighth ahead of Sauber and Caterham”

    You mean, 9th, right ? ;)

  16. Bru72 says:

    Brilliant, what a good outcome despite the penalties. Well done Jules and Marussia.

  17. Blaize says:

    Was so happy to see Marussia score points. I have the same affection for them as I did for Minardi.

    Not Surprised that Tony wants to sell. All Caterham/Lotus have done is gone backwards after that first season.

    Marussia while slow have always made progress but Caterham have stood still or gone backwards.

  18. Thread the Needle says:

    Well done Marussia, long overdue but very well deserved, have a few beers and then take it to the next level

  19. Rishi says:

    Delighted for Marussia and Jules Bianchi getting points yesterday. Really good to see that four or five years of hard work pay off this weekend. Interesting to read that Bianchi did over 50 laps on the supersofts – impressive stuff and it looked like he had good race pace too. The only potential thing stopping him getting DotD was the grid slot fiasco which got him the 5-second penalty; might be interesting to learn the details of that one.

  20. askeptic says:

    Well Done, Marussia.

  21. Mhilgtx says:

    I am very happy to see them score a point. Even better they scored 2.

  22. Paul P says:

    Hi James
    It doesn’t seem quite fair to me to add just 5 seconds to Bianchi’s time instead of him taking the 5 second stop/go penalty. He originally served the penalty under the safety car, which is not allowed, and so was instructed to serve it again. Had he done so, it would have cost him more than the 5 seconds to enter the pits, stop for five seconds, and then re-join the track. I understand that stop/go penalty can now be taken during a scheduled pit-stop, but if the penalty is given at a point in the race when there are no more scheduled stops, is it OK to just ignore the penalty and have the time added at the end of the race?

  23. terrymck says:

    The penalty is not a 5 second stop/go, it is a 5 second delay. You serve the penalty in your next scheduled pit stop. If no pit stops are scheduled then 5 sec is added to your time – that is what the rulebook says. It would be unfair to insist you pit again just to serve the penalty.

    I don’t understand why they got out of order on the grid. Even with Maldonado not starting, surely each driver would go to the grid slot where their car was set up?

  24. Tyler says:

    James, could you clarify the points payout system. I thought the actual scoring of points had financial perks beyond just establishing finishing order. So if Marussia now ends up 10th with 2 points their payout is the same as 10th with no points??

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