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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.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Monaco Grand Prix - Sunday - Monte Carlo, Monaco

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.

Team comments:

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.”

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Tom Firth

    Todd I absolutely agree, this was a great moment for Marussia, awesome to see the team celebrate after the race in the way Minardi used too, means so much to these little teams and great to see the team making progress.

  • agree Todd. There is a good chance that Caterham jumps Sauber for tenth. Sauber has regressed since Melbroune.

  • rapierman

    Those are definitely big points. Congrats on their first set.

  • The Imperative Voice

    It was going to be historic for one of the two back markers but he got away with improperly serving the stopgo when he arguably should have been black flagged. He cutely did the pretend version under safety car and then they dock him the stop time and not at least the delta (much less dq)? Ericsson didn’t bend the rules all weekend….

    • dumpsterdiver

      I agree. I’m confused that he’s able to ignore the penalty and simply have it assessed minus the delta at the end of the race? Shouldn’t it have been the 5 sec penalty + whatever the time through the pits?

      • MIE

        The rules for stop-go penalties have changed this year. They can take them at the same time as a scheduled pit stop (so the driver only loses five seconds) or if no more stops are due the time is added to the overall race time. While such penalties cannot be served under safety car conditions Marussia at least performed the stop-go to avoid any accusations of ignoring the penalty. Don’t forget Bianchi finished 8th on the road, so the post race penalty did cost him a position.

        • The Imperative Voice

          They docked him the 5 points (effectively 1 position) at the end of the race, reflecting the penalty was not properly served, but his penalty is nothing more than the time he was supposed to serve for the penalty he was already handed?

          Normal circumstances you’d get black flagged for ignoring a penalty under claims it’s already been served. At minimum you deserve a penalty reflecting no less than the delta because he’d have needed to repit to serve…..even if he had no practical need to go back. Yes, he came in under SC, and that costs him track time, but that’s not supposed to count if he’s not allowed to serve it then.

          Half the point on these drive-throughs or stop-gos is the added delay of the delta.

          This is part of where I feel sometimes F! penalties are outcome-driven. Rather than punish an act with a fair punishment for its commission…..regardless of result……they decide how they want the punishment to make the driver come out, and effectively work backwards. So they wanted Marussia to keep their points, so the pair of penalties are handled just so.

  • joel

    Also more points then Williams had this time last year :)

  • What’s the pay day difference between 9th and 10th?

    • I don’t have this completely locked down but I think if Marussia secure ninth, they will reach tier two money at the end of the year in the tune of $30-50 million. If anyone has more concrete numbers, feel free to correct me if I have that wrong.

      • Prize money is one of those opaque F1 secrets that IMO disservices fan interests. We like or lament hearing player/team A receives xxxxxx million dollars; either way it invests us (see all the good/garbage comments on Rosberg/Hamilton). The notion of exclusivity has its merits, but there’s a point…

        The only concrete numbers I’ve seen are from Saward here:
        http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/how-much-money-does-marussia-gain-from-2013/#comments
        -Referenced by Bleacher Report here:
        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1955397-formula-1-prize-money-what-are-the-rewards-per-race-and-per-season

        Mr. Saward admits some figures are unknowable best-guesses, and specifically here predicated on $700 million revenue allotted teams in 2013. Based on this, if Marussia indeed earns 9th this year, and 2014 revenue is the same $700 million, Marussia would jump from $14 million in ’13 to $52.5 million.

        Note, Saward begins the article criticizing some news outlets for publishing hearsay and inaccuracies as fact; I’d like to think he’d want readers of his posts to consume with a critical eye as well.

        All that being said, a $35-40 million jump would, needless to say, be helpful.

  • Schmorbraten

    My first thought about Marussia’s points was: surely Tony Fernandes will now throw in the towel and sell the Caterham F1 team, because the odds for Caterham collecting 3 points are very slim.

    This morning, it was already reported on two sites:

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/05/26/f1-fanatic-round-2605/

    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/caterham-group-sale-report

    • The paddock was buzzing about it on Friday. and I believe the Autosport article came out Saturday morning. Seems there’s some truth here.

      It only makes sense that Mr. Fernandez separate the two; by reports, Caterham cars is doing poorly, despite ambitious future product plans. I’ve never driven a Caterham, but have a Low-Cost; cool cars, but not at those prices…

    • Schmorbraten

      Ok seems to have been a fluke. Now Fernandes is saying he’s not selling.

  • JasonI

    Haas should have bought in last week.

    • His F1 factory/base is reportedly nearing completion:
      http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140521/f1/140529969

      For better or worse, Gene Haas seems committed to an intercontinental team. It looks to be a factory, no just an office/headquarters. The following article lays out some plans:
      http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140520/F1/140529993

      I’m cautiously optimistic Mr. Haas can “shake up” the traditionally-held team dynamic structures; some times steeped-traditions are too stagnant. However, a status-quo oftentimes exists because it works best; my Amerian-ism is clouding objectivity, to be sure.

  • Marussia lost £140 million from 2010-2013, according to Forbes via Formula Money:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/csylt/2014/05/25/formula-one-teams-lost-500-million-in-the-last-three-years/

    Warning: I’ve no idea who nor how reputable Formula Money is, but Forbes is usually trustworthy with its citings (if not its analysis).

    If this is true, one wonders how long Cheglakov will support the team, particularly in light of EU and US-imposed Russian sanctions.

    I gave the opinion Marussia was a well-run race team considering its poorly-conceived inception and funding woes in the Caterham sale post. That 9th place couldn’t be more timely, if the team can hold it.