Marussia enters season with big questions looming

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For Marussia, life’s not been particularly easy since Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov secured 11th place in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and with it, 10th position in the Constructor’s Championship and the financial rewards that come with it.

Earlier this offseason, the team announced a mutual separation from Timo Glock after three seasons. Glock was never a world-beater, but the German had his day more than once in five full seasons of Formula 1 racing (he scored three podiums at Toyota), was fairly quick, and could have been counted on to aid the development and progress of his rookie teammate Max Chilton, who makes the leap from GP2.

Once Glock was dropped, enter Luiz Razia, the Brazilian runner-up in last year’s GP2 Series. Razia, though, has not yet gotten any seat time in any of this month’s preseason tests. According to the BBC, that could be down to finances and whether Razia has been able to bring his share of the budget to the table.

Assuming he starts in Australia, Razia would be in a similar, almost no-win situation as then-rookie Charles Pic was a year ago. Pic had minimal testing miles at best as Marussia’s 2012 car launched late. But to the Frenchman’s credit, he did at least qualify for the race, unlike the two HRTs which were outside the 107 percent time in Q1.

The other issue, more ongoing before 2014 and the new engine regulations kick in (1.6L turbocharged V6 engines replacing the current V8s), is that Marussia will likely need a new engine partner. It’s Cosworth’s lone team this year and Autosport is reporting the team is already looking for next year.

The three options are, of course, Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. Renault stated earlier this week to Autosport it would like to reduce the number of teams it supplies for 2014.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”