Rossi nominated to stand in for Bianchi at Marussia

2014 Russian Grand Prix

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Alexander Rossi is on standby to take the place of the injured Jules Bianchi in this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

The FIA entry list for the race confirmed the team had nominated Rossi to replace Bianchi, who was badly injured in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

However the team are yet to confirm their plans for participation in this weekend’s race.

Rossi is yet to start a race in Formula One. He was announced as a replacement for Max Chilton in the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this year, but a late change saw Chilton retain his usual seat after Rossi took his place in the first practice session.

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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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    55 comments on “Rossi nominated to stand in for Bianchi at Marussia”

    1. If he gets to race in front of his home crowd in a few weeks, then I guess that’s a positive to take out of the sport currently.

      1. Terrible circumstances, but I’ll be at COTA and rooting for him like crazy!


        1. Agreed I will be rooting like crazy. Too bad it had to happen under these circumstances.

    2. Happy for Rossi, but sad for the circumstances!

    3. I don’t think it shows any disrespect to run two cars. Jules drove the race of his life to bag 9th place at Monaco and Marussia now need to work hard to stay in 9th place in the championship. The prize money could be the difference between the team surviving and folding.

      While the situation is serious, and I of course can’t speak for Jules, I’m sure he’d want the team to do everything they can to make sure they keep their position in the championship. I mean no disrespect to Bianchi, as his health is clearly more important than any race; but, in reality, is racing one car going to help him? Especially as they have all the parts and a driver there.

      1. I think it does show disrespect, however your points are perfectly correct. I remember Sir Frank Williams saying once “the driver is not better than the team, he’s just another component”. This clearly shows this “component” aspect to F1. The team is a business, it has to make money so its a very hard topic to argue.

        1. It’s not disrespect– It’s the sport. It’s why teams have reserve drivers. It’s why theatrical productions have understudies, because sometimes, bad things happen. I don’t know Jules Bianchi, but I’d be surprised if he wanted his team to park his car while he recovers in the hospital.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          9th October 2014, 19:12

          If a football player got a serious injury, would you expect the team to carry on with 10 players? If you got injured, would you rather life simply stop for everyone until you were ok again?

          I don’t understand how it could be disrespectful. Surely at some point Marussia should be allowed to run 2 cars with a clear conscience?

        3. The statement by Williams may be true, however Williams ran one car after Senna was killed at Monaco 2 weeks later. The difference is that Jules is still with us, although critical.

          I think they should run two cars as I’m sure Jules would have preferred the team fight on and secure that 9th place.

      2. Marussia doesn’t have to do anything to stay in the points, there is no way Caterham is getting points this season and Sauber hasn’t done much better.

        1. No one ever thought Marussia would get into the points, let alone in a year Sauber wouldnt score a single one.

          1. The “let alone” part is not quite correct. It is because Sauber didn’t score that Marussia was able to score.

        2. But with one less car on the grid that makes it easier for Caterham and Sauber.

      3. I imagine Marussia is in constant close contact with Jules’ family and probably have an idea on what their thoughts are. Marussia ownership and management are in the best position to judge what is the right thing to do. I can respect their decision whatever they decide.

        1. So it seems that in the end they decided to leave the seat unfilled @bullmello

          We will run a single car for the duration of the forthcoming Grand Prix weekend in Sochi, out of respect for our driver Jules Bianchi, who remains in hospital in Yokkaichi, Japan, in a critical but stable condition.


          1. @bascb – A difficult decision. There is tradition for this in F1. I think it points out that there is more important things than points, money and racing. I respect their decision.

      4. What would Jules Bianchi want for his team? Exactly the right call by Marussia.

      5. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
        10th October 2014, 2:20

        Marussia are contractually obligated to field two cars, if they fail to do so they could lose $54.5 million. Source

        1. @yesyesyesandyesagain – The FIA can decide to allow a variance and evidently have in this case.

    4. I suppose it is at least good to see Marussia use their reserve driver as a reserve. I wish him and the team all the best.

    5. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      9th October 2014, 15:51

      It’s no disrespect towards a racing driver when a race teams does racing. Period.

    6. I hope they participate with both cars… but who can blame them if they decide to miss this one?

      Sad Rossi would make his debut in these circumstances…

    7. I don’t think anyone could begrudge Marussia for running both cars. Would Jules want them to race with only one car?

    8. We don’t know what the outcome is for Bianchi yet, so it would be sending the wrong signal to be behaving as if he’d died, in my view.

      1. Who is behaving like Bianchi has died? Marussia have a reserve driver like all the other teams in the pit lane if one if their regular drivers cannot participate. Obviously these are absolutely horrible circumstances but what else can the team do? Only run one car until it is confirmed that Jules can or cannot return to racing?

        1. @eoin16 Nobody is behaving like Bianchi has died, that’s why I said ‘would be’.

          Running both cars is quite correct, whereas if he had died one can imagine the team might have left his car unused.

          1. My apologies @KeithR I misunderstood what you meant.

          2. Sorry, I misunderstood you as well.

      2. I thought this was the exact instance that reserve drivers were used for? Also, Marussia needs every chance they can get to get 9th. I also imagine that it’s good PR for the sport to have two ‘Russian’ cars at the Sochi GP, much like it would be to have an American driver at the COTA.

    9. Consider yourself to be Jules at the moment, what would you want , eh?

      1. Can’t say for sure what Bianchi would want, but if it were me, I would want the team to maintain the points lead I had given them with a brilliant drive and extend it if possible. The ultimate ignominy would be for Marussia to fold so late in the season and for the whole effort to come to nothing.

        1. +1 Couldn’t have put it better. Really hope to see Marussia get a good result this weekend in honour of Jules.

      2. If I was Jules, I couldn’t bother thinking about anything else but my own recovery and life. I would forget F1, people, numbers (/points), other’s entertainment or even money…

    10. From what I’ve heard, Marussia is only gonna run one car.

    11. Good call by Marrusia. Anything else would have been unexpected really. Good luck to Rossi. Finally he get’s to drive. The seat could potentially be his for the rest of the season.

    12. Isn’t this what *Reserve drivers* are for??? I see no disrespect here what so ever. Definitely will have Bianchi in my thoughts and wishing you a full recovery. #ForzaJules

    13. To quote The Godfather, ” It’s nothing personal, Strictly business”

    14. They should definitely run two cars. It’s not disrespectful to Bianchi (I’m sending good thoughts to him every day.)

    15. Did Ferrari drop a car after Massa’s incident? I don’t think they did nor were there calls for it. Jules is still fighting and I’m sure he and his family would want the team to continue. Much like in the 24 of LeMans last year when Aston Martin carried on at the wish of the family. Much like laughter heals, racing also does the same.

      1. There was a month’s break between the Hungarian and European GP in 2009. And Massa was already awake and conscious by then.

    16. Quite surprised to see that some people consider this disrespectful. That hadn’t even crossed my mind. I think it’s obvious that Marussia should run two cars and they are fools if they don’t.

      1. For me it’s not about being disrespectful, I believe they need to run only one car in order to remind and get attention of the consequences / concerns of safety and procedures, remind everyone to be wary of what had happened in F1 and to FIA, and for those who’re new to this race (/russians) to wonder that something serious had happened. Also, to the race director to operate things properly at first race in Sochi with clear mind (without overridden by fan’s excitement).
        Also “racing” for team isn’t important if these things aren’t brought to attention for “potential future drivers’ safety”. Racing will go on, but changes needs to be made for future of sport and their people. Giving up one car in just one race isn’t any harm.
        Also for those who think it’s just another “injury”, there’s a difference between a fatal accident (which is the case – being in coma is no life) and not “Just injury”. It does make a lot of difference.

        Go Jules!, you’re NO17 (or rather “LION” if read upside-down – also LEO as zodiac sign) – It’s strangely so much coincidence that I share the same date of birth with him, and used NO17 for several things entire childhood / teenage as I’m proud LEO

    17. i’m happy with this. like it’s been said before, bianchi would surely want marussia to keep fighting. i can sort of see why some people would consider it disrespectful, but i don’t agree with them. rossi has already been denied a chance at spa, running him would be a good decision. of course, this isn’t how he wanted to have his race debut, but hey (sorry for saying this) that’s what reserve drivers are for. to stand in for injured drivers.

    18. I hope David Coulthard has some advice for Rossi. He’s the one person in the paddock who knows how Rossi probably feels, coming in under these circumstances.

      1. @rjoconnell
        What about Damon Hill? Didn’t he replace Senna in 94?

        1. Hill had been driving for Williams since the start of the ’93 season. Coulthard and Mansell drove alongside him for the remainder of ’94 in what was Senna’s car.

        2. No Coulthard did while making his debut in F1, but only after Williams raced one race as a one car team. Hill was in that second car all year long.

      2. But didnt Coulthard get several thousand kms behind the wheel?

    19. petebaldwin (@)
      9th October 2014, 19:09

      Good luck to him. I’m sure Marussia will run 2 cars because as many have said, there is no reason not to. It’s not disrespectful to Jules in any way and it’s exactly what anyone in his situation would want to happen.

      Jules is and will be in everyone’s thoughts but life has to go on. If it’s disrespectful to replace him now, when would it be ok?

    20. What am reading this dilemma of whether to race or not to race as a sign of things going too bad. Hope Marussia does race though, and have #ForzaJules plastered all over their cars. Emotional are running high at the moment to see him in such a condition, not only at Marussia but across the paddock.

      I hope Jules recovers faster from his situation and my prayers are with him.

    21. I wonder if Rossi himself wants the drive this weekend? It’s a horrible situation for the whole team, and what happened in Suzuka will hang over the head of everyone at Marussia – including Rossi – for a long time. Would he want to jump into Bianchi’s car while his team-mate is still in hospital? Everyone wants their race debut, but I can’t imagine a worse way to make your first start. Here’s hoping he doesn’t have to drive if it makes him uncomfortable – emotions will be raw in Sochi this weekend and such an event wouldn’t help anyone.


      1. I am sure Rossi wishes it was under different circumstances, but at the same time this is what he has been working for his whole life, and he needs to make the most of it.
        Hopefully Jules will recover and get his seat back next season, but in the meantime Rossi has a chance to prove himself and find a seat somewhere for next year.

    22. We have all been in pain following Jules’ terrible accident, but I cannot think of anyone I would prefer to see driving his car this weekend than Alexander Rossi. I met Alex and his parents in December ’05 in one of his first formula car events at Laguna Seca. (Hard to believe that much time has passed!) I had never seen anyone so fast right out of the box, especially given such a challenging, technical old-school track. But what struck me was how serious, humble, respectful, and grounded he was at that age- and how NORMAL his whole family was. It was a pleasure to be around them that season. I had this strong feeling even then that he had the tools to succeed at the nearly impossible task of an American making it to F1. Alex got to F1 on merit– there is no one who deserves this opportunity more, and I am certain there is no one who will handle the circumstances with more respect, gratitude, and professionalism than he. He needs no coaching in these aspects. He has always respected the sport. As much as I am in pain for Jules and his family, I know there is no better reserve for him than Alex. I sure hope Alex gets to drive this weekend– it would be a little light in all this gloom.

    23. it’s good to use Bianchi’s name on the garage but have Rossi driving the car. That is actually a really good idea

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