Marussia has confirmed Max Chilton to return for a second season alongside Jules Bianchi, which leaves only Caterham’s two driver announcements to come before the 2014 Formula One grid is complete. The move was announced at the Autosport International Show in the UK.
“I am really happy to be continuing with the Marussia F1 Team into a second season,” Chilton said in the team’s release. “Continuity is important for the team but also for me as a driver. You learn such a lot in your debut season, but the second year is when you can really pull all of those new experiences together and show your true potential.”
Added president and sporting director, Graeme Lowdon: “We are delighted to announce Max directly to an audience of Formula 1 fans at the Autosport International Show today. Judging by the warm reaction we received at the Show, they felt it was well worth the wait to hear the news first hand and we at the Marussia F1 Team felt it was a fitting reward for the incredible support we receive from them. Keeping the fans at the heart of our sport is critical to its continued success. It was great to see Max and Jules developing during their debut season last year, rewarding our confidence in such a young but obviously talented line-up. I’m sure the fans are as excited as we are to see what our drivers can go on to achieve in their second season with us.”
Chilton set a rookie record by finishing all 19 Grands Prix in his debut season, but he rarely matched Bianchi’s pace or results. The Englishman outqualified Bianchi at Suzuka, one of the true driver’s tracks on the schedule, which was probably his highlight.
The Bianchi-Chilton pairing marks the first time in Marussia’s existence that it has retained the same driver lineup for a second year. Timo Glock had three different teammates from 2010 to 2012, Lucas di Grassi, Jerome d’Ambrosio and Charles Pic, before both the 2012 drivers were replaced heading into 2013. Chilton was confirmed first and Bianchi entered when Luiz Razia’s sponsorship package fell through.
The team switches from Cosworth to Ferrari power in 2014 with the new engine regulations. Cosworth left the sport at the end of 2013.