Marussia to run a single car in Russia out of respect for Bianchi

2014 Russian Grand Prix

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Marussia will not replace the injured Jules Bianchi for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, the team have confirmed.

The team will run a single car entry for Max Chilton this weekend out of respect for Bianchi following the crash he suffered in Japan.

“I don’t know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules,” said Chilton, who has been Bianchi’s team mate since their F1 careers began last year.

“The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules’ family at this difficult time.

“It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules.”

The team had nominated Alexander Rossi to take Bianchi’s place had they decided to run both cars. The stewards confirmed permission had been granted for the car to be withdrawn.

Marussia issued the following statement before practice began in Sochi:

The Marussia F1 Team will run a single car for the duration of the forthcoming grand prix weekend in Sochi, out of respect for their driver Jules Bianchi, who remains in hospital in Yokkaichi, Japan, in a critical but stable condition.

The Team have written to the Stewards of the Meeting to inform them that they have withdrawn their second car. Notwithstanding the presence in Sochi of Alexander Rossi, the nominated official reserve driver for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the team feels strongly that fielding a single car, that of driver number four, Max Chilton, is the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend.

Jules’ car crew have built a second car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race, and this will remain on his side of the garage throughout the weekend. In support of Jules and his family, the team and their cars will carry the familiar #JB17 graphic, to ensure that although Jules is not with them in Sochi this weekend, he is, nonetheless, racing on with the Marussia F1 team.

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    Keith Collantine
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    53 comments on “Marussia to run a single car in Russia out of respect for Bianchi”

    1. This means that for once, I won’t mind seeing images of the garages during the race, if FOM pans to Bianchi’s car at times.
      Greatest respect to Marussia for racing on and showing Jules is still part of the team.

      1. There is tradition for this kind of decision and I completely respect Marussia for making a difficult choice.

    2. Not the decision I would’ve made, but it’s hard to be too critical of someone put in a very difficult situation like Marussia are in. No matter what they decide, there are going to be people who disagree.

      I’d love to see Chilton snag a point or two at Sochi in honor of Jules; definitely rooting for him this weekend.

      1. @utbowler0407

        I’d love to see Chilton snag a point or two at Sochi in honor of Jules

        I normally root for Marussia but in a sort of strange way I wouldn’t want Max to do too well and then devalue Jules contribution of 2 points for this season which remains a special achievement for the time being. Also, if events transpire in a situation where Marussia are able to pick up points then you’ve got to feel more sorry for Jules not being the one there to make hay as he most often has been.

        Perhaps as a compromise I can hope for a single point for Max.

      2. That would serve to make this decision seem even more strange. A top team with chance of scoring good points would never have taken this decision. I am very surprised

        1. Williams did this exact thing in 1994 at Monaco.

    3. This decision of Marussia makes me cry… #ForzaJules #JB17

      1. Me too, maybe I´m soft.

        It is a hard decision, but I guess warching another driver in his car will be even harder.

        I think Marussia did a very sensitive thing.

    4. Jules is not helped by this decision in the least.

      His team, the guys in the garage, have just wasted five days of their lives, and the organisation is throwing away around $20 million, though, but who knows, they might not plan to be around for 2015, rendering the whole point moot.

      1. You are right. It is completely symbolic and a waste of money.

        It’s fantastic.

        1. The ol’ bait and switch move by marussia on Rossi. First with Chilton now with Jules car. They should have just let the mechanics stay home and save money for a struggling team. I’ve got a feeling this might be contractual otherwise they would have left the other car. I expect a late change of mind but I won’t be holding my breath

          1. Taking the role of the cynics advocate, maybe they want to be the only team without an engine penalty for one of their cars come Abu Double.

    5. While I can’t knock them Marussia for trying to show respect to their driver who is in a critical state right now, strategically this is a terrible decision. They may be a better team than Caterham but I don’t think they can afford to risk the possible points/places when it comes to ranking and sponsorship and prize money when the season has ended. Rossi should be racing Sunday. They need to grab as many higher ranking finishes as they can to ensure they outrank Caterham and plus that is what they hired Rossi for, to be the driver should one of the main drivers be unable to. To not have him race is almost a mockery of the system, especially considering this the second time this season he’s been promised a race and had it taken away. That being said I respect their honorable wishes and my thoughts are w/ Bianchi and his family.

      1. I’m pretty sure Rossi will be racing in America. He’d probably be racing if the gap to the Russian GP wasn’t just 7 days. It’s pretty hard to digest what’s happened in that short amount of time. And come November, we’ll probably be clearer on how Jules is doing too.

        Jules is a fantastic driver, scoring points in that Marussia is incredible, but Rossi is there for a reason and if it was possible to build a functioning car, I would have put him in it.

        1. Yes, and I believe if Bianchi was mentally coherent now and able to speak (I hope he is soon) I think he would tell Rossi to get out there and show them what you can do and do me proud. But I do look forward to seeing him race in Austin and the rest of the season. That may be the silver lining to this whole terrible situation. I have a feeling F1 will not be the same after this season.

          1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
            10th October 2014, 23:05

            i really dont think any driver under these circumstances would want someone else to drive! if i was jules, i would expect quite the opposite: dont drive because of me! make a stand and pressure the fia to take all necessary precautions to make F1 save! cockpits must be integrated to the cars and safety car immediately after a crash if it is raining!

      2. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        10th October 2014, 23:06

        @winnieracer: caterham wont win a single point so marussia can be
        at ease!!! caterham
        wont score… ever!

    6. I’d have preferred they sent two cars out and tried to ensure that Bianchi’s two points in Monaco were not in vain.

      1. This. Although maybe we have to take into account the mindset of his mechanics and engineers, maybe they were not up for it.

        1. @renevdkooij An excellent point. I wouldn’t be surprised if this played a role in the decision.

      2. Agree, it is a relatively pointless gesture and potentially risky move if Sauber or Caterham get lucky. I can’t see Max finishing ahead of anyone but possibly Ericsson. Still, understandable given tecent events…

    7. I think a ready-to-race car should race, that’s no way to treat the guy who’s signed (and no doubt paid) as your reserve driver – but it’s easy to say that from thousands of miles away.

      1. Although we are all sad about Bianchi, I also feel sad for Rossi. Its not nice to to tell Rossi he’s gonna drive and then change your mind at the last minute. I know its a difficult time for them all, but im not impessed by this decision.

    8. Well, what to say without being rude.. I disagree with Marussia. They are a racing team and should be racing especially since the car is ready, they have a driver waiting for a drive, and it’s in no way disrespectfull to Jules.

    9. Some people..

      Marussia stands to lose a lot more than the people commenting about how they should have run a 2nd car. Let’s not forget that the team have to use another car, which even top teams can’t really do in back to back races. While Rossi might be better prepared than some team’s third drivers, getting him to work with the team, the car and the team to work with him as a race driver aren’t easy tasks and no doubt not exactly a priority for Marussia right now.

      Most drivers that take a seat mid-season have at least had a few full weeks of preparation, not just the race weekend to prepare. Rossi would have been thrown off the deep end a lot harder than someone like Lotterer.

      I have nothing but respect for their decision and am frankly disappointed with the amount of people I’ve seen around the web lamenting it. I wasn’t going to watch this weekend, I might just ignore all F1 media this weekend, because it continues to disappoint. The articles here are great, but the comments on some of these articles..

      1. That being said, a car that passed scrutinizing might be okay to race, but we know nothing about parts, engine life, etc. For all we know that car in the garage could do 5 racing laps before it shuts down or can only run at half speed. It might not help Marussia at all, I’m sure that was a factor in their call.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        10th October 2014, 9:51

        @npf1 – I made a comment against them running 1 car but it was simply from putting me in Jules’ position. I don’t know Jules or his family and what their views on this would be so I cannot comment if Marussia are right or not. Everyone is different and responds to this type of event very differently.

        However, if I was Jules and I woke up to find that Marussia had decided not to race a 2nd car which had lead to Caterham taking the lead in the Championship, I would be furious. I’d think “what was I risking my life for all season!? Why on earth did you not run a 2nd car!? How did sitting in the garage help me!?”

        Everyone is different and perhaps Jules would prefer them to not race until he’s better. Marussia are certainly best placed to make that decision so I back whatever they decide to do. I assume if it was me, they’d be racing because they’d know that getting the best result possible would be my highest priority, not having people sit around in a garage and feel sorry for me.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          10th October 2014, 9:54

          As I say though, I do want to stress that I back whatever Marussia decide to do because this won’t have been a snap decision. It will have been made having consulted the mechanics and Jules’ family.

          Things like this make sport very unimportant and all I really care about is Jules getting better.

        2. Carey Cummings
          10th October 2014, 12:20

          Agreed. Race teams are there to race, not wallow in a bad situation. I couldn’t see Colin Chapman not running a second car, if he were still around. If they don’t run Rossi at the next race, then its a good indication that this will be their final season anyway.

          1. Colin Chapman didn’t run at all in the race following Rindt’s death.

    10. Marussia seem like a close knit team, and this would have affected everyone in their garage badly. Only they really know what the best course of action to take is, less than a week since a crash. We are not there and don’t know what personal emotion is running through the team, so I completely respect the decision by Marussia.

    11. TheLegendOfMart
      10th October 2014, 8:08

      Funny how a bunch of keyboard commentators know what’s best for Marussia than the people who run Marussia do.

      It’s easy to sit and say that they would be better off running the car for the championship but they feel in light of their colleague and friend devastating accident that it would be better not to run the car, with the kind of injuries he has he may never wake up.

    12. The opposite ; they should have honor Jules by running the car with something to pay respect (a special banner or something). IMO.
      Let them race.

    13. Michael Brown (@)
      10th October 2014, 9:29

      I do hope that Rossi gets to drive the rest of the season.

    14. petebaldwin (@)
      10th October 2014, 9:42

      Personally, if I was Jules, I would be really annoyed that Marussia made this decision. He’s risked his life to get the best results for the team and then they don’t even put out a 2nd car for one race. What if Caterham have a good race? Chilton won’t be competive because he’s Chilton and Marussia could finish last… Bianchi’s season and hard work would have been a waste of time.

      Surely running the 2nd car in tribute to Bianchi with a big FORZA JULES logo painted on would mean more than just not even leaving the garage? Everyone deals with this sort of thing differently but I would hate to think that if I’d got hurt, everyone eles’s life would completly stop until I was better….

    15. Keep in mind that Bianchi has been on his fifth and final new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H since Monza, the longest out of any of the Sauber/Caterham/Marussia cars. If his car (whoever drives it) needs another new one of those before the end of the season the 10-place penalty will practically be a sentence to start from the back of the grid for the rest of the season. Reducing the season mileage by 1/19th might well be what they need to eke the engine out to the double points finale without a penalty.

      The message of respect is the most important thing here, but people shouldn’t be so quick to assume that this is a big strategic sacrifice.

      1. It does look like the only thing marussia are respecting is their bank balance. How it is respecting bianchi to have his perfectly functional car sit in the pits while his team mate goes about racing normally? If marussia were really respecting bianchi they either race both cars or none. But because they are racing one car it means they are doing it for money. Chilton is paying to drive and marussia are taking that money and going racing. Bianchi’s sponsors are not paying so that is why marussia are leaving that car in the pits.

        I hope bianchi gets well soon and gets into decent team away from these clowns.

        1. I do love how you can give a full psych diagnosis of dozens of people from thousands of miles away.

          1. I actually did not give any kind of analysis.

            1. And definitely not a psychological one…

        2. Let me just be absolutely clear that I had absolutely no intention of associating with these kinds of disrespectful accusations. It’s telling enough that just as many people are proclaiming this to be a terrible decision because it’s self-interested as there are people proclaiming it a terrible decision because it’s shooting themselves in the foot.

          It’s neither of these. Their colleague and teammate is in a serious condition and they want to mark this with a break in business as usual. No team has been to a race with a driver in a critical condition from injuries sustained the previous race that season since Senna died, and Williams did exactly the same in that case. That precedent is good enough for me not to go around insulting some of those who work closest to Jules.

        3. @socksolid – I feel sorry for you if such a cynical attitude permeates your everyday life. While I respect your right to whatever opinion you have, I do believe finances were not what led Marussia to this decision. There is historical precedent for this type of tribute. Marussia are in the best position to make this decision. They are in touch with Jules’ family, they know and care for Jules even more than we do. It was their decision to make.

          Agree or disagree, it is hard to understand some of the rather ugly backlash being put out there by a some people.

    16. It would take a very, very, very, very, VERY crazy race for Caterham to pass Marussia in the standings. Sauber might have a better chance, but I doubt Marussia can beat them on pace anyway.

      Racing only one car seems to be the standard response to tragedies. Even teams fighting for the championship have done it.

    17. I do not see how racing would have been disrespectful, or how not racing shows respect. I simply cannot fathom this. If I were to get gravely injured or die tomorrow, I would not want others to stop doing what they are professionally supposed to do to show me “respect”. Nope, never.

    18. I think this is the wrong decision, for all the numerous reasons everyone has stated in both articles. But I cant blame Marussia, they are in a very difficult situation.

    19. In 1994 Monaco grand prix, Williams and Simtek raced with 1 car. Sure the situation was different, but it is not uncalled for.

    20. now imagine if caterham or sauber were to score points this sunday. bianchi wakes up to the news that his team isn’t 9th in the constructors championship anymore. that’s not what he would want, right?

      with all due respect for the current situation, withdrawing from the race won’t help. from a sporting perspective, it’s incomprehensible for me.

    21. Ayrtonfan (@)
      10th October 2014, 15:00

      I have been thinking about what Marussia will do all week and was 50/50 on my opinion. Now they have made this decision to be honest I am still 50/50 on it and can both sides!

      Obviously from a racing perspective being constructors championship, possible points, sponsors and earnings its not the preferred option.
      From a loyal and respect position for their driver in a real bad way Marussia are spot on to run one car. Either way it can only be for one GP I think.

      I have been watching F1 for 30 years (over 75% of my life) and while some may think this is stupid I actually think there seems to be (mostly- not always of course) a better bond of loyalty in team and driver than there was in the 80’s – 2000’s. It may be the young drivers programs where a driver has been around a team and people from a much younger age that previous (Seb & Marko) so a better bond.

      So while I think its a good show of support for Jules this weekend at the next round they really need two cars on that grid!

    22. If I was a driver that was injured or killed I would want the team to continue on as normal & I would want somebody else to get that chance to run the car & to have that experience of driving in a race. To me as a driver I would find it disrespectful to me for the team to not run “my car”.

    23. very respectful move by the team, was wanting to see what rossi could do though but its a good gesture , godspeed Jules! get well soon fella

    24. chilton will have a spare set one for wet

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