Lotus big cock up, Marussia appoint Bianchi, Caterham raising money through reserve drivers, Barcelona Final Test day 3: morning story

Morning in pictures is not just gossip and sillyness – yes we have some fun, but there is news and technical close up pictures too with explanations of how the teams are changing the cars day to day.

For example, see pics and tweets from Grosjean which suggest Lotus have made a very big cock up. Some great technical pics from Somers – split pictures explaining the differences.

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Marussia 3rd time lucky?

So the craziest driver selection pre-season draws to an end – we hope. Caterham Force India and Marussia have kept us entertained with speculation running rife as to who’s going where and why?

Luiz Razia apparently was let down by a Swiss sponsor who didn’t deliver the promised funds and he has this to say.

I’m in a kind of shock, because you expect to be in F1, you are there, announced, testing, and then you are out – and not because of a driver fault. I did everything right in what I could do, but it was really just a circumstantial thing that happened, and that was it.

But I still am here. My career is still shining and I can overcome this difficult situation. It is just something that has happened to me. Sometimes life does this to you.

My main goal is to be in F1, so all my effort is there. I am now without any grounds, but I will go with my family, and we will be sad for a while, but I will get back to the category.

I was there two weeks ago, and I didn’t feel I shouldn’t be there for this season.”

Luiz does not blame Marussia, “I could be angry. I could be very selfish, but I am not. I am really tolerant with these things. I understand the position of Marussia and I like the team. They treated me very nicely there and, to be honest, they were trying to sort out the situation for me.

“They chose me because they wanted me there in the first place, so there are no hard feelings. “It is also fair to say that Bianchi had a difficult situation and, to be honest, he deserved the drive.”

Razia thinks he will get another F1 opportunity. “I don’t want to lose this opportunity, as I hate losing more than I love winning. I need to find a situation where I am going to be feel competitive, where I can overcome this and get back in the car as soon as possible.

I will see what is best for me now and put together what I need to be in F1. For now, I just need to regroup my thoughts.”

So Marussia were forced to look for their 3rd driver of 2013 and we’re still 2 weeks away from the first race in Melbourne

Marussia’s John Booth is bullish over his new French driver. “Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula 1 and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae, notably his 2012 season in Formula Renault 3.5 when he was also Reserve Driver for Force India.

He is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and his obvious pedigree put him on the radar for a number of teams over the winter as a driver ready to step up to Formula 1. We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia.

Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.”

We can now focus on the remainder of the testing programme and preparing for what looks to be a promising season for our Team. Jules can now look forward to a very swift initiation into the Team over the course of the next two days here in Barcelona, when he is expected to run for one and a half days to afford both our drivers some dry running with the latest aero specification.”

Jules will be the fourth Frenchman in F1 for 2013 a golden age for Gallic drivers. He comes from a family with a great racing pedigree according to Joe Saward. “His great-grandfather was a mechanic with the Alfa Romeo factory team in the 1930s”.

His grandfather Mario raced at Le Mans and in 1968 was involved in a horrific accident and fireball but survived though his career was over. Mario’s brother Lucien won the race driving one of the memorable Gulf sponsored cars – a Ford GT40 with co-driver Pedro Rodriguez.

The following year Lucien joined the Alfa Romeo sportscar team but early in the season he was testing at Le Mans when his car failed on the Mulsanne Straight, he lost control and hit a telegraph pole and was killed instantly.

Jules must be disappointed he didn’t get the Force india drive but is clearly excited about the Maurssia opportunity. “I am thrilled to have secured a race seat with the Marussia F1 Team. Racing in Formula 1 this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.

I am also very grateful to the Ferrari Driver Academy that has always supported me and has given me the possibility to mature as a racing driver enabling me to be fully prepared for this new exciting challenge. The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow with my first day in the MR02.”

Some are already suggesting this move is an early indication of where Marussia will look for a 2014 engine as Cosworth is up for sale in expected to withdraw from the sport. Indeed, Ferrari said in a statement say they will continue to “provide him (Bianchi) all our support, compatible with the needs of his new team”.

Caterham raising more cash

Caterham announced 2 reserve drivers for the coming 2013 season. Obviously with the extensive in season testing this is necessary to give their front line drivers a rest… Oh … right, sorry. That is apparently not the reason.Alexander Rossi comes with a large amount of experience and success in junior formula. He will continue the development he has made with Caterham F1 Team since first driving for the team at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Young Driver test and building on the Test Driver role he fulfilled in 2012, making his F1 debut in Barcelona in the Spanish Grand Prix FP1 session.
As part of his 2013 Reserve Driver role Alexander will be taking part in a number of FP1 sessions throughout the season, building on the experience he has gained with the team since 2011.

Ma Qing Hua is a new addition to the Caterham F1 Team driver roster and will drive in the Chinese Grand Prix FP1 session for Caterham F1 Team as part of his Reserve Driver program in 2013.

In addition, Ma will be racing throughout the forthcoming season with Caterham Racing in the GP2 series, giving him the opportunity to compete against some of the best young talent in motorsport whilst being fully integrated into the F1 environment.

Ma already has FP1 experience on his CV, having driven in four Friday practice sessions in 2012. He first competed in motorsport in 2005 in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, and in Italian F3000, and since then he has competed in various series including A1 Grand Prix and the British Formula 3 Championship.

Alexander Rossi mentions ‘the family. “After many discussions this winter with Caterham F1 Team regarding my 2013 program, today’s announcement brings me even closer to my goal of racing in Formula 1.

2013 will be my third season with the Caterham family and I’ve built solid relationships within the whole team. My goals from the Friday practice sessions that I will drive this season is to  fulfill the team’s runplan for each session, work closely with everyone and learn as much as possible, always being ready for the next opportunity. As Caterham F1 Team’s Reserve Driver I will attend all F1 events, allowing me to integrate fully within in the team technically, commercially and from a sporting perspective in F1, best preparing me for the next step.

I want to thank Caterham shareholders Tony and Kamarudin for their complete support and Team Principal, Cyril Abiteboul for the trust he has placed in me to carry out these duties. I plan to make the most of this season and the opportunities afforded to me so I’ll be best prepared for what comes next.”

Ma Qing Hua’s happy to be in ‘the family’ too. “I am very excited about joining the Caterham family and would like to thank everyone at Caterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing for giving me the chance to race in GP2 and to extend my F1 experience.

Both teams have everything they need to keep growing in the right direction and I am looking forward to playing an important role in helping them achieve what they’ve set out to this year. I know the fans at home will be really excited to see me race in GP2 and with the F1 work I also have ahead of me, China can be proud that it continues to have a driver involved in motor racing at the very highest level.”

Cyril Abiteboul – Team Principal said this. “I’m very pleased to welcome Ma into our team. Alexander continues his development with us into 2013 and his promotion is a reflection of the investment we are making in him for the future.

Ma joins us with previous F1 experience from 2012, and will play a key role in helping our GP2 team achieve their 2013 goals. We are looking forward to helping him develop his talents, both in the F1 and GP2 environments, and giving Chinese fans a figurehead to support on track throughout the year ahead.

As Reserve Drivers, both Alexander and Ma will attend every race with us and will be driving in a number of FP1 sessions to continue their development. One of the main challenges facing young drivers moving up to F1 is the sheer number of people they have to interact with compared to any other level of their motorsport career.

They go from a small number in Formula Renault 3.5 to more than 15 in F1, across engineering, performance, reliability, engine, KERS, strategy, communications and marketing. The program we have devised for Alexander and Ma will allow them to immerse themselves completely in the F1 environment throughout 2013, preparing them for the day when they take the next step up to the ultimate level.”

Well, if you’re going to be last then at least it’s good to have a ‘family’ with which to share it. #Tony’sKids

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9 responses to “Lotus big cock up, Marussia appoint Bianchi, Caterham raising money through reserve drivers, Barcelona Final Test day 3: morning story

  1. Timing of events (Marussia announcing they are looking for new engine supplier and FI opting for Sutil on Thursday, then Marussia confirming Todt-managed Bianchi on Friday) is a clear indication that we will soon see some news from Ferrari about a 2014 engine deal with Marussia.

  2. Wonder what will happen with Marussia’s “technical partnership” with McLaren. Also, imagine Bianchi spends some time in McLaren’s sim and speak to Marenello 🙂 Me thinks they may hold out a bit with any engine deals etc.. Then again, Ferrari IP went Woking way so maybe it’s only fair that some IP pass back the way 😉

    • Ferrari have already signed De la Rosa to learn the tricks of McLaren’s sim, I doubt Bianchi will get enough time in it to learn anything that Pedro hasn’t already told Ferrari…

  3. According to Pat Symonds, drivers in the frame for Marussia were “Heikki, Karthikeyan, […] pretty much anyone with a license and money in their pocket” (ref: half an hour through the Sky Sports coverage).

  4. Watching the Sky TV feed from Barcelona, is TJ13 at the test today ?
    Imho, Signing Bianchi will be great for Marussia as i rate the guy far more better than Razia… they will beat Catheram fair and square as TJ13 predicted in a previous post.Graeme Lowdon must already be delighted.
    Otherwise, Catheram will pay poor technical feedback by signing two ‘pay’ drivers… by the way… its food or drink poisoning that is keeping the Kimster away from the track ? 🙂

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