March 2, 2013 (F1plus/B. Dixon).- When the shock parting of ways between Timo Glock and Marussia was announced in January, it was imperative that his replacement would be a driver bolstered by significant funding, in order to prevent the Russian owned team from emulating HRT’s sad disappearance from the grid. The driver to benefit from the financial dictatorship governing Formula One was Luiz Razia, runner up in the GP2 championship in 2012, and arriving full of promise of Brazilian funding.
However, while the appearance of Razia behind the wheel of the Marussia at the second test in Barcelona was eagerly awaited, it was Briton Max Chilton who commandeered the 2013 challenger on each of the four days, sparking discussion about whether the Brazilian’s dream seat in Formula One was in jeopardy.
On Thursday, it became clear that he had become the most recent driver to be overcome by the rule of wealth when it was announced that his career with Marussia was over before it was christened. The second instalment of his funding had not materialised from his backers in Brazil and with the opening race of the season in Melbourne looming and the final test halfway over, the team had to make the ruthless, but no doubt painful decision to terminate his contract. In the space of a month the commanding rule of the almighty dollar subjected the promising youngster to a rollercoaster of emotions, initially prospering, but later becoming another in a long line of its victims.
Marussia wasted no time in appointing Frenchman Jules Bianchi to drive alongside fellow rookie Max Chilton, arranging a seat fitting for him within hours of the announcement. Having spent 2012 as a test and reserve driver at Force India, Bianchi has shown he is capable and deserving of a drive in Formula One, and narrowly missing out to Adrian Sutil in their battle for the remaining seat at Force India, Jules has demonstrated the potential he possesses.
Bianchi arrives with strong links to Ferrari, a member of their Young Driver Programme and listed as a development driver for the team, his assignment could prove very fruitful for Marussia. Currently running Cosworth engines, a supplier who won’t be participating in the sport next season due to the switch to V6 power, Marussia is looking for a new engine contract in order to guarantee their future in the sport.
With Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari being the only manufacturers who appears to be involved in the development of these engines, his links to the Italian team could be very favourable, and could lead to an engine deal being inked in the near future. A deal that could be followed by sharing of further Ferrari resources, a valuable asset to any team languishing at the back of the grid. In the signing of Jules Bianchi, Marussia may just have scored a double header in safeguarding their position in motorsports most elite category.