Chilton back in Marussia for Belgian Grand Prix

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Marussia have reversed their decision to replace Max Chilton with Alexander Rossi for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The team had announced yesterday Chilton was being replaced by their reserve driver due to “contractual issues”. Chilton refuted that claim, saying he had voluntarily stepped down to let the team raise money by selling the seat.

Rossi has participated in today’s first practice session for the team but will relinquish his seat to Chilton as of this afternoon.

Marussia issued the following statement: “Following a change in circumstances and with the approval of the stewards of the meeting, Max Chilton will be the nominated driver for the duration of the Belgian Grand Prix.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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77 comments on “Chilton back in Marussia for Belgian Grand Prix”

  1. He found a contractual £50k down the back of the sofa.

    1. Awesome to the M4x, eh? Chilton to finish another race! (last)

  2. Must have asked daddy for a bit more money.

    1. This is what makes F1 look so pathetic. The whole business model has been broken for many years. Other sport consider talent. F1 is ONLY about money and that’s why the viewers and spectators are turning off. Get with it before it goes the way of Indy.

      1. F1 should be embarrassed that the “show” is run like this. Bernie and his rich buddies need to stop siphoning off money to buy his daughters $150M mansions and to pay his bribery bills.

        1. Well said. Spot on.

  3. Dad transferred more money into his account.

    What a joke! Poor Rossi.

    1. @jarnooo Poor Rossi. Lol.

      1. No pun intended hahaha!

    2. Poor Rossi.

      Poor Rossi, I’d say poor father Chilton :P

      No but seriously, It must be sad for Chilton to be reminded in such a clear way he is a pay driver. Good decision by Marussia anyway, Rossi wouldn’t have been competitive.

      1. Chilton is competitive?

        I imagine if the rumors of Haas being interested in Rossi are true, he’s want to get the kid some F1 experience though.

        1. Chilton is competitive?

          Rossi makes him look competitive.

  4. Booooo. Make up your minds Marrusia. I had myself all geared up for a great weekend watching and following how Rossi would do. Now all I have no Kaumi, no Rossi, and a poor Ferrari car. Alonso is the only one worth watching now.

    1. Yeah, I’m now hoping Bianchi lands that Ferrari seat ASAP so I no longer have to cheer Marussia ever again

      1. Yeah, hate on the team with the tiniest budget, owned by a bankrupt car manufacturer, based in a country facing thousands of economical sanctions.

        1. based in a country facing thousands of economical sanctions

          They’re based in the UK. With the car manufacturer bankrupt, what connection do they still have with Russia besides the name and racing license?

          1. It’s not hard to figure out that sanctions on Russian business might have an effect on Russian businessman. Doesn’t matter if they’re based in UK, Russia, or the moon. Money comes from the same place.

  5. What is Marussia thinking? How pleased will their drivers feel with this back and forth games, you’re in, you’re out. And meanwhile some thousand miles are involved

    1. Well I don’t think Chilton is too bothered!

    2. To me their thinking is pretty clear. They saw a 0 on the account – i.e. payment from Chiltons did not arrive in time – and went for their reserve. Guess now that an express transfer arrived, max is back in the car.

  6. Now we wait for Rossi to pony up a bit more cash to reclaim the seat

    1. Rossi wasn’t paying.

      The team have just very publicly told Max Chilton they don’t value him at all as a driver, and if he’s got no money they’d rather give the seat to someone else for free than have him drive it.

      1. That’s just depressing to read …

        Am I the only one on Chiltons side on this one? :P Come on, he’s a nice guy and he doesn’t crash the car too often like other pay-drivers (ahum …Maldonado ahum …)

        1. nice guys always finish last

  7. Just lost a huge chunk of respect for Marussia. Poor Rossi….

    1. Don’t blame Marussia. This is obviously not what they want to happen. For some teams, financial stability is more important than choosing the more popular driver. Obviously the best financial solution changed over night.

      If there is anyone to blame, it is, as usual, those in the FIA and the strategy group who seem utterly incapable (or most likely unwilling) to come up with any sort of reasonable cost controls, or a fair means of distributing money within the sport. The fact that places usually reserved for the most elite racing drivers are being sold off, and that’s desperately wrong. But it’s the only way some teams can survive.

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      22nd August 2014, 17:24

      Rererve any lack of respect for the FIA not enforcing a budget cap when they are in a position to do so. Marussia are very well run, don’t forget they are still essentially a small Yorkshire team that stepped up to F1 from the junior formulae. Their budget this year is still a lot less than Jordan were running on in the mid and late 1990’s.

  8. My theory is that they’re still planning to put Rossi in for a single race, but for publicity (and merchandise sales?) they’ve decided they’re going to put him in at COTA.

    You heard it here first.

    1. Now that would be a good idea, marketing genius in fact. I am bummed for Rossi and all the American fans who were excited to see an American on the grid, myself included.

  9. petebaldwin (@)
    22nd August 2014, 9:37

    Exceptionally harsh on Rossi to announce he’s making his debut and then on the day, change your mind again….

  10. This is a joke and a shame for Formula ! as the pinnacle of motorsport. This damages the “sport” aspect of it. If there was a credible alternative open wheel series to F1, with top teams and drivers, as well as innovative technologies and competition between teams in that sense, I would seriously look into it. I had a certain faith in formula E, but the 240KM/H top speed is a bit of a joke. The “single day everything” also seems lacklustre for fans.

    I’m a big fan of all the teams in F1, particularly those that have historical ties and made the sport what it is today- teams like Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams, Sauber, Renault (Lotus), etc. But this type of farce needs to be stopped. If we are to look for the best drivers in the World, more and more, we have to look elsewhere. Its still the best circuit based open wheel motorsport SHOW, in my opinion. However, as a Sport…

    I praise Ecclestone for making Formula1 the top motorsport show in the world. What I don’t understand is why teams still struggle and need to get pay drivers to be part of it. I also don’t understand the marketing amateurism of even the most prestigious teams, like Williams. They have the most appealing, commercial sounding partnership in the paddock and they could have capitalised with the merchandising soon, and what you get in their store, which only as late as Monaco packed merchandise, very few items. Most of the teams, excluding probably Ferrari, Mclaren and Redbul, do this successfully . Can’t they learn from the Premier league?

    1. “Most of the teams, excluding Ferrari, Mclaren and Redbull, do this poorly”, not “successfully”

    2. Motor racing never has, and never will be a proper “sport” in the truest sense because performance is so dependant on equipment. People have to pay their own way at every level; there is no way into motorsport without some money behind you to start with. This “Farce” is just the reality of motor racing, it doesn’t spoil my enjoyment at all.

    3. If IndyCar gets better commentators and telemetry, I’d say it’s almost on par with F1 (esp when the latter is having an off year). The on-screen telemetry is so rubbish though … watching qualifying is almost impossible as you don’t know how much faster a driver is going, and they use the reverse sign for the gap between cars (so the car behind is listed as -x seconds)… ugh.

      1. I don’t see myself ever being as invested in a one-make series unfortunately, even if the engines are different.

        1. They’ll have chassis that are different in 2015.

          1. That’s better. How many different chassis? Any produced by the teams who run them?

          2. Do you mean they are finally allowing the different aero kits or are they really going to have more than one chassis maker? I hadn’t heard this, but I don’t follow Indycar since it became a spec series.

    4. This sort of thing is nothing new though, Throughout F1’s entire history you have had drivers in & out of teams during a season based on finances or some other reasons.

      Its not been as big a thing the past decade or so but before that it was commonplace to the point where the FIA put a limit on how many driver changes a team could through a season in the late 90s.

  11. Big money goes around the world…big money make no sound :)

    1. …just like the F1 cars this season. ;)

      Thanks for breaking out the Rush.

  12. Dear Marussia,

    I have $150 worth of sponsers. I’m sure if you let me drive for you in Spa, I’ll make that $200.


    1. Dear Mashiat,

      Make that $210 and you have yourself a deal. That money would really boost our budget, perhaps by up to 50%.

      Come on over, sincerely

  13. “Most of the teams, excluding Ferrari, Mclaren and Redbull, do this poorly”, not “successfully”

  14. Jeffrey Jung
    22nd August 2014, 9:58

    What the….? This is rediculous.

    The only logical explanation I can come up with is Chillton couldnt pony up the money for his seat like his contract says he should. Then he did and his contract had to be respected.

    Not buying the voluntarily bs because if they had ‘sold’ their seat to Rossi that deal should have been respected contractually. It must have been a case of “max you suck and if you don’t pay there is no reason left for you to be in the car” He did pay eventually so he’s back in the car.
    This farce highlights how sad the state of things are at the back of the grid though

  15. Personally (or perhaps just because I am not British and thus don’t read so much (negative) Chilton-coverage) I don’t really get the Chilton-hate. Yes, he is on average 0.6 seconds slower in qualifying, he usually finishes last and is in no way a spectacular driver. On the other hand in nearly two seasons he has only made one big mistake (Canada 2014) and usually brings the car home without causing trouble for the field. Do people dislike him because he is from a wealthy family? If I had the money my son would also be pushing towards F1 if he wanted to. So I can’t object to his Max’ dad doing that. Is it because he is “taking” a seat from a more talented guy? Well without his money, perhaps there wouldn’t be a drive at all! There have been far worse drivers in the sport during the years, IMHO – you only need to look at Ericsson and count the number of crashes. So by all means – go ahead and drive, Max!

    1. Jakob. At last a balanced comment about Chilton. As many have said this is not a unique situation the difference is that this time it has been played out in public, rather than behind the scenes. I say well done to Chilton and his team for securing whatever it takes to drive the car. Drivers like Kovalainen admitted that they couldn’t be bothered to chase cash and are no longer in the game. Whatever you think of him Max is still in F1 and driving a full race.

    2. just like on the road, it’s easier not to wreck when you’re going slower.

    3. Didn’t he take somebody out in Monaco last year without ruining his race?

      1. @matt90 Maldonado.. and knowing him, that takes balls. The rebound also took out Bianchi.

    4. On the other hand in nearly two seasons he has only made one big mistake (Canada 2014) and usually brings the car home without causing trouble for the field.

      And the biggest reason for this is that he doesn’t ever race anybody.

      I’ve watched incar camera shots from him during races & he never races the cars around him, If someone is behind him & sticks there nose up the inside he’ll just jump out of the way without fighting them.
      If he’s behind someone he will never risk trying to overtake unless its a guaranteed DRS pass.

      Additionally in the races he’s miles of Bianchi’s pace, In qualifying it may be on average 6 tenths to 1 second but in the races its much larger again because he doesn’t race, he just sets into his pace & ignores everyone around him.

      Guys like Maldonado get criticized for making errors, causing contact & stuff but at least he’s having a go, At least he’s trying to pass guys & at least he’s racing on the limits trying to make up those spots & better his position.

      Fine Max gets the car to the end up all but 1 race, But as I say thats just because he isn’t racing, He isn’t pushing he’s just driving & getting to the end having done nothing through the race to actually look as if he’s trying to finish higher than last.

    5. You make a lot of good points, but for me I’d always rather have talent in the seat over money. I get that they’re cash strapped, but Bianchi earned them a lot of money by scoring points. Plus, as an American I was pulling for Rossi to make it.

      1. But Rossi was even slower than Chilton.

        1. Rossi was even slower than Chilton

          @hohum, are you talking about absolute pace? Every car went significantly quicker in FP2 compared to FP1, as the track evolved and, most importantly, they used the options for the first time.

          If you are referring to relative pace, note that Rossi was 1.4s slower than Bianchi in FP1, and Chilton was 1.3s slower in FP2 compared to the Frenchman. I think that reflects pretty well on Rossi, given his very limited preparation compared to Chilton’s time in the car over this season. I’m pretty confident that with a couple of races under his belt, Rossi would be much quicker than Max.

          1. @tdog, possibly so but hardly a convincing demonstration of superiority over the highly disparaged pay driver supposedly keeping more talented drivers from a seat.

        2. But practice times don’t mean a great deal as you never know what program each driver is running.

          For all we know Rossi/Bianchi & later Chilton could have been running completely different programs making direct comparisons between there outright times totally irrelevant.

          As an example before Vettel suffered his technical problems he had been running a totally different aero setup to Ricciardo (Low drag rear wing Vs. high drag rear wing) so any comparison to there lap times would be useless.

  16. I made a comment on Marussia’s conformation of Rossi replacing Chilton for the Belgian GP about how I felt a little sorry for Chilton and how happy I was to see Rossi finally been given a chance to race a Formula Grand Prix, a chance that Caterham (foolishly) never done. Now, I just can’t that Chilton is ll of a sudden back in the car. I can’t begin to imagine the frustation and devastion going on with Rossi right now. He went into this weekend thinking his time has finally come after years of Caterham denial and now, it’s just Luiz Razia all over again. But the only difference is Razia’s replacement wasn’t announced less than 24 hours before Free Practice 1.

    1. Formula 1 Grand Prix*

  17. A lot of people slating Marussia for this, but to be fair Rossi is just their reserve driver, he’s only there for when one of their actual drivers can’t, won’t or isn’t allowed to drive. Obviously Max had some contractual issues going into this weekend but now they’ve been resolved the drive is his.

    I’m annoyed as well, because I also think that Chilton doesn’t deserve his seat, but the fact some teams in F1 are dependent on pay drivers is less Marussia’s fault than it is the governing bodies which run F1.

  18. So much for ‘voluntarily stepping out’, I guess.

    1. Guess he volunteered to step back in.

  19. I wonder if Sky paid for his seat for this race. They wouldn’t know who else to interview for no reason at all after every session.

    1. shocking! but you might be right.

  20. even if chilton came up with enough money, it was late. for a penalty and to make sure that doesn’t happen again they should’ve let rossi drive.

  21. You’ve got to laugh really. He’s as ‘pay driver’ as they come. I remember him sitting on the sofa of Sky F1’s ‘The F1 programme’ talking about all these pay drivers and how they’re not great for F1 but ‘hey they’ve always been here’. He did it all with a straight face too. Sky never once broached the subject that he might be one too. He gets a completely free ride by the British media. Which must be one of the few rides he’s never paid for.

    Even this recent ‘voluntary side step’ for Rossi was put down as some magnanimous gesture to allow the team to generate some cash by selling the seat. Yet now because his team have ‘managed to find the funds’ he’s allowed back into it. Has he no shame? :)

    It’s funny and sad in equal measure. As many earlier posts have pointed out. He’ll finish the race, in last place. But in his mind he’ll finish and that’s the most important thing.

    I wouldn’t mind him so much if he just acknowledged what he is. A pay driver. And not a very good one at that.

  22. Guys cut Marussia some slack. They try to operate an F1 team on a shoestring budget, every penny counts. Better have them on the grid and see Bianchi drive then not at all.

    1. @dutchtreat : I couldn’t agree more. I cut Marussia loads of slack. It’s Chilton’s delusions of privilege that I find hard to ignore :)

    2. +1

      Totally agree, some of these comments are utter hyperbole. This is a team that go from race to race wondering if they can continue to afford the adventure. Seeking investment for any business is hard work, its also a complete distraction so the fact they can do this and be sat in 9th in the constructors championship should be applauded.

      Bad news for Rossi, but thats life.

  23. I hope Caterham and Sauber outscore them this weekend.

    What a load of bait-and-switch garbage. I’ve never been this upset at someone actually being able to keep their ride.

  24. Welcome back, we’ve missed you so much !

  25. there’s nothing more inspiring that watching a professional operation in action…

  26. Don’t be embarrassed Max. When I was a kid my parents forgot to pay the fees for my hockey league and I had to sit out a game, happens to the best of us.

  27. Ayrtonfan (@)
    22nd August 2014, 16:08

    @Jakob @PeterG

    Both of your comments makes a bit of sense really. I wasn’t aware of a UK “Hate Max” campaign Jakob, I have met Max twice and he was great each time. But he is slow(ish) and Jules a star of the future so not a good teammate to make comparisons. I say slow(ish) as any F1 driver and ‘slow’ doesn’t work- none are slow!!

    For his wealth and he getting a drive? Yes. Senna’s family had cash, so he could have time to go to Europe to do that, but Senna had pure talent, maybe the best ever. Max can drive.

    Max has talent. Not Senna talent (but who does) but I am sure you cant drive F1 just because Dad is rich (Bill Gates son isn’t in F1 is he ??). He has paid dues, done some F1 but maybe should go next year. JEV is a much better F1 driver but we don’t know if he will line up next year- hopefully money is not the final dictator!

  28. Chilton ever been competetive?

  29. It’s very strange. I think they don’t know what they want to do.

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