Sure…accuse me of overplaying the fact that Marussia won it’s first constructor’s points in the teams 4-year and six race history but I reserve the right to suggest that this is a major accomplishment that, for me, outweighs Lewis Hamilton’s brooding Sunday.
The team started humbly enough having been awarded an entry to Formula 1 back in 2009. The team launched with Wirth Research and were rebranded as Virgin Racing. As Virgin’s enigmatic owner can be finicky and over time Virgin’s investment dollars dried up. Marussia Motorsport took controlling interest in the team in 2010.
Firmly planted in the back of the grid as “one of the new teams” that then FIA president Max Mosley brought into the sport in an effort to race for 60 million pounds per year, Marussia was in for a rude awakening when that notion didn’t quite pan out.
The team found itself chipping away at million while the top teams swam in hundreds of millions for their program. While toiling away at the back of the grid, Marussia was able to secure 10th place in the constructor’s Championship in 2013 and this could be a big payday should they maintain that position for 2014 in terms of tens of millions of dollars.
Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix goes a long way to securing that inevitability, as Caterham F1 will have to best 9th place in order to take away their current 10th place in the standings. Anything can happen but the likelihood is not on the positive side of the gamble.
Marussia switched to Ferrari engine in 2014 and the Italian teams driver-in-waiting, Jules Bianchi, happened to be the man to deliver the good in Monaco with an 8th place finish. The FIA imposed a 5-second penalty for lining up wrong on the formation grid and this reduced his finishing position to 9th and in the points.
I’m elated for the team who work hard each and every week to run their race and while it may not be racing Mercedes for wins, the results are still important and the progress they’ve made since testing in Spain seem to have paid off as well.
Sure, there was attrition and many of the press stories suggest that Bianchi simply lucked into the points. Maybe he did but he could have finished 11th and out of the points like Caterham did just as easily. Bianchi was on it in Monaco and manhandled the car to a result it most likely didn’t have a right to be in and that is the reason he’s in the car in the first place.
You have to be there to win and attrition is always a reality in Monaco. The team who reads the tea leaves correctly and has the right call at the right time does well. It’s unfortunate that many would marginalize the result due to attrition when it is a part of racing and nowhere more likely than Monaco.
Congratulations to the team and to Jules for a terrific result and an earned points finish.
Jules Bianchi #17
“Wow. What a race and what a result for the whole Team. I am just incredibly happy, but first of all I have to pay credit to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for making this possible. Nobody knows just how much work and determination goes into our races, so today I am thrilled that I have helped them to achieve their long-held target of our first points. To achieve them together makes me very proud. My thanks to everyone here in Monaco, the rest of the Team in Banbury and also to our powertrain partners, Scuderia Ferrari, because together we have all made great progress, particularly since the Barcelona Test. This gave us the confidence to push and we certainly did that here this weekend. It was not an easy race; there were some enjoyable highs along the way, but also a couple of concerning moments too. What matters at the end is that we got there and we can savour the highlights for a long time to come. I would also like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy, who support me every step of my career.”
Max Chilton #4
“I am very proud to be a part of something so special today. For a small team to have such a result is a huge boost for the future. Obviously, I have mixed emotions, as everything that could have gone wrong for me today did. But that is racing and I know I will have my chance one day to get some points for the Team. Well done to everyone and now I am really motivated heading into Montreal.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“Naturally we are overjoyed at today’s result and it is a fantastic reward for all the hard work and determination, not just this year, but over the past four and a bit seasons. My congratulations to the team here in Monaco, back at base in Banbury and our much newer colleagues at Scuderia Ferrari. Our powertrain partnership is young, but we saw the potential right from the start of the relationship and we are now really starting to see the results of a true integration. A lot of this weekend’s clear step stems from the progress we made at the recent Barcelona Test. We were cautiously optimistic about our performance increment, but we really needed to see it translate into a good race here in Monaco before we could feel too confident. We are only a young team, but we have every reason to believe in ourselves and a positive future. Clearly, in today’s race, we benefited from some attrition but, throughout, we were running at a pace that allowed us to stay in position with the cars around us. It is clear that we are now able to race with the back of the midfield pack. The penalty situation was a cause for concern and the way in which we served this with Jules was the product of some unusual circumstances, but we understand and accept the decisions. Thankfully, the second penalty was not the determining factor that it could have been. A tough day for Max; today simply didn’t go his way, but we are pleased for him that his finishing record continues.”
Mattia Binotto │ Scuderia Ferrari Engine & Electronics Deputy Director
“On behalf of the Scuderia Ferrari, I want to congratulate the Marussia F1 Team for this historic result. The first points finish for this team is a well-deserved reward for the hard work they’re doing in such a competitive environment as Formula 1. For our part, we are pleased to have made our contribution to the achievement of a goal pursued by time and I would like also to thank the group of Ferrari technicians and mechanics who worked from the beginning of the year with the team based in Banbury. Jules achieved a flawless performance from every point of view, confirming that he is one of the most talented young drivers currently in F1. This ninth place should be a starting point and not an arrival for the collaboration between the Scuderia and the Marussia: there is still much work to do and lots of room to grow together. In a very challenging weekend in terms of reliability we are pleased to have seen both Ferrari-powered Marussias finish once again the race. It’s true that there have been some problems over the weekend but we were able to handle them together and we got once more the first goal of each Grand Prix: pass under the chequered flag.”