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Marussia retain Jules Bianchi for 2014
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Oct 2013   |  10:05 am GMT  |  41 comments

Marussia have retained Jules Bianchi for a second season after the Frenchman delivered a string of impressive performances in his debut year.

The 24-year-old joined the team only a few weeks ahead of the new season, as a replacement for Luiz Razia, and as a result only had two days of pre-season testing.

But he has consistently outperformed team-mate Max Chilton – who is still in negotiations with the team about his seat next year.

Bianchi, who is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, had been linked with a number of teams but decided to stay put with Marussia, who will use Ferrari engines next season.

The Frenchman’s best finish of the season is 13th, which he achieved in his second race in Malaysia. That result crucially puts Marussia ahead of Caterham in the constructors’ championship in 10th.

“I couldn’t have wished for a more supportive environment in which to make my F1 debut and from the very beginning I have always felt completely at home with the team,” said Bianchi.

“We started the season well and while the challenge has increased as the season has developed, we have learned important lessons together that will place us in a much stronger position next year.”

Team principal John Booth added: “Jules joined us at very short notice at the end of pre-season testing, with only two days of running under his belt. He rose to the challenge of his debut season exceptionally well and since that time has clearly demonstrated his ability and potential.”

With regards the second seat at the team, Booth said that “consistency of line-up will be important in helping is to navigate the transition” when the sport goes through major rule changes, including a switch to turbocharged V6 engines, and that the team would confirm their full line-up for 2014 “later in the season”.

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Bianchi has really impressed me this season. A star for the future I reckon.


Maintain the usual gap between the 2 drivers 0.8 seconds after announcing Bianchi would be retained for 2014 they also confirmed Max Chilton would be starting last at every GP next season.


I hate to be a nag but … where’s that podcast of the Newey interview you did?


Went out 9 pm tonight on BBC 5Live. Did you miss it? I’ve been tweeting about it all week

Tomorrow you can hear it by clicking on 5live link on JA on F1 home page, right hand column


Hi James what would you say the mood is in F1 about the rule changes? Seems like F1 needs to do abit of PR work with this season stories like tyres blowing up, drivers only driving at 60% and Vettel’s winning everything. Would you say the rule changes are generally a chance for F1 to have a bit of a shake up/ fresh start?


Just to get back to Perez for a moment, here is a confirmation as to why Slim hasn’t signed on with McLaren perhaps and why McLaren as a result has not signed on Perez.


Once Mexican GP is 100% go, Slim will sign McLaren, and McLaren will sign Perez. It’s all about the details. I’d be a details man too, if I was Slim.

Tornillo Amarillo

Can you comment in Bianchi’s performance?

I think he was excellent in the beginning, but Chilton was improving later.


Maybe, but initial impressions last.

Tornillo Amarillo

Oh, I thought that in F1 there is a consensus about the meaning of the phrase: “You are as good as the result of the last race”.


There’s a fair amount of truth in that, but the consensus also seems to be that Bianchi is a talent who has impressed this year and right as you may normally be that’s not going to change on the back of one result.

However, if Chilton beats him for the rest of the races then yeah, I’d say that would indicate a massive improvement on Chilton’s part…or a major decline on Bianchi’s.


Good on Jules. He’s performed extremely well in his rookie season,but am a bit surprised Ferrari didn’t try and slot him in the Sauber / mid field car for next year. Can surely see him driving for Ferrari sometime in the future.

James, off topic, but is there any credence to the rumors that Rubens might be back with Sauber for next year ?

Won’t that make an interesting pairing, a 42 year old veteran, with a rookie barely out of his teens 🙂


What I’m finding encouraging is that the talent appears to be getting confirmed first across most of the teams while the “pay” drivers look to be negotiating a little harder. Is it something to do with the recently signed agreements between Bernie, FIA and teams? Maybe the incentive to do well on track is outweighing the personal backing of the under-performing drivers?

I think Ferrari need to do a “Massa” with Bianchi. Sign him up young and nurture his development. He’s definitely got potential.


We might see Vettel-Bianchi at Ferrari in a couple of years


I’d rather see Bianchi-Vettel 😉


Can this team survive in today’s financial environment as described by Sauber’s team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, and other team leadership recently? Surely the Ferrari engines aren’t cheap. And no doubt Mr. Booth and his merry men arent’ in the business for their health.

Within the past months we’ve seen a number of key personnel leaving Lotus for ‘greener pastures’ at Ferrari. How long before Marussia begins to lose their important (read; industry trained) people to other teams?


They come last every weekend, every season since they started F1.


And yet, as James mentioned, they are in the 10th slot in the WDC, due to Bianchi’s 13th place. Which is probably worth a few million quid. Of course, I am assuming that they get paid, even though Bernie hasn’t done an agreement with them, unlike with all the others including Caterham.


It would be a massive farce if Marussia beat Caterham and then Caterham got the money anyway.

Something to with kings and queens and what happens to a bit of wood when you use a screwdriver.


I think that Marussia is getting mates rates form Ferrari next year in return for proving a seat for Bianchi to help him get the experience for a potential Ferrari seat down the line.

Mind you, Ferrari or no Ferrari I think Booth would be happy to have Bianchi anyway 🙂


I guess that’s always going to happen where the very brightest end up at the best teams.

Those that fall a bit short will – similarly – move to the lesser teams to fill the void.


James – I’m curious why Marussia and Caterham don’t hire old hands – experienced drivers to baseline their performance a bit better and possibly drive a wedge into Toro Rosso’s young driver policy on track. Wouldn’t this be a better bet than always using rookies?


All good points but I guess I was thinking more along the lines of why they let this be the case, you’re never going to get anywhere if your drivers are a low point.

Why are F1 teams in the situation where they get more money from being in F1 than being successful in F1, even looking just at sponsorship and not prize money?

Why can’t teams sign experienced drivers and get even higher sponsorship based on their (the driver’s) previous experience?


‘Why can’t teams sign experienced drivers and get even higher sponsorship based on their (the driver’s) previous experience?’

Very good question and that would be the logical thing to do.

For example, if I had a couple billion in my wallet and was looking to sponsor a lower-field team like Marussia I would say to them get an experienced driver (or two) that’s going to help you develop the car and fight for positions and I’ll make sure you get more cash to make it happen.

But these guys don’t sponsor teams, the companies who want to market international brands do and they’re just looking for exposure – I’m not sure how much of a say they get concerning driver line ups (if they get any at all).

The guys with personal wealth either buy teams (like VJ did with Force India), or they have their proteges who they want to see get a seat in F1 and are willing to pay a team to give them one (like Carlos Slim did with Perez and then Gutierrez at Sauber).

It’s less logical, more personal.


I guess you’ve hit on the major problem engendered by Bernie Ecclestones profit focus which is generally as short sighted as the teams inability to agree enough to fight this. BE is an old man and doesn’t need to look long term – so the teams refusing to put their own financial interests first by collaborating on a better formula which rewards talented drivers rather than those with rich backers despite their lesser abilities is to blame.

Ideally you’d get sponsors looking at the driver results and fame and handing out cash on that basis, but currently we have some familial connections, a few national pride cases and a lot of short term turnover – with talented older drivers dropped because they came into the sport in a different financial era.


If experienced drivers will have financial backup, yes. Otherwise they won’t have the money to finish the season.


The word money springs to mind.


The rookies bring money. This is the entire reason why Heikki doesn’t have a drive this season.


Old hands don’t come free, that would be my guess why they don’t hire them.


Old hands often come with big pay packets, while rookies often come with sponsorship and/or engine deals.

Both Marussia and Caterham tried the experienced driver route initially with Glock and Kovalainen respectively, but unfortunately (and understandably) both were dropped in the never ending quest for more money.


What Motivation would u give to the old hand


The rookies bring money 9 times out of 10, which is why the back markers usually pick them up.

Van Der Garde, Pic and Chilton all bring budget to the teams; which is why Caterham let Heikki go at the start of last year, so Pic could fill his seat. Though Heikki is still working development for the team.

Petrov’s backing fell through at the end as well which is why Van Der Garde picked up a seat.


Have been impressed with Jules’s performances this year, in fact I had wondered if some of the midfield teams would have signed him, he has very significantly out qualified max on some saturdays

Cant say the same for max’s performances – think only his rich dad can save him!


I think it’s more likely that Bianchi is exceptionally good than Chilton unusually poor. Chilton is probably very competent and up against most drivers he’d seem like a good rookie but I get the impression Bianchi is a future star and is making Chilton look worse than he really is.


Max Chilton was average in GP2 for many seasons, last year he picked up a few wins but was still a long way behind the battle for the championship. It is a shame that Luiz Razia or champion Valsecci havent got a chance this year while swathes of other rookies got handed places. I mean you have to be good to get to GP2 and the front half of the field would be able to put in a good showing in an F1 car.

But we should be looking for great not merely good in this sport


To be fair to Max, at least he has finished every race. I think he and Lewis are the only ones to have done that. Hope I haven’t jinxed them both! 🙂


I think thats very unfair, sure he has money but MC has offset future earnings to secure a drive. Whatever your views on his skills you’d have to admit that he’s personally taking risk.

The red moving traffic cone may be ahead of the green one but in reality is simple, Marussa is the worst car on the track. I also think that Bianchi is supremely talented so its hard to judge MC really fairly. Lets give the kid another season and take it from there.

As for Bianchi hes going to have to make a move before a Ferrari seat comes up so I am a little surprised at this news. I’d love to see him with a capable car, fingers crossed Marussa can bolt something together that works next season.


Offset future earnings?? what like cutting his daddys grass at £100k a time!!


Hi James,

Do you know whether Bianchi brings any sponsorship and if so, how much?


No but he is a Ferrari development driver and Marussia is switching to Ferrari engines next year…


Regardless of the Ferrari link, it would have been really sad if they sacked him! I guess with Ferrari out of the equation they would still keep him.


I wouldn’t go that far.

He probably comes with a big fat coupon for a discount on those engines.

With guys like Barichello and Petrov pulling together eight digit sponsorship deals for next year, nothing is certain til it’s signed.

Good for Jules, tho.

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