Marussia have denied that their signing of Jules Bianchi for 2013 was swayed in any way by a rumored Ferrari engine deal for next season.
Team CEO Graham Lowdon said in an interview with Autosport “Discussions on engines are taking place in our team like every team, but with every supplier.
“This is very much an opportunity to put a young driver in who we think has got a good future.”
Bianchi had been in the running for the second seat at Force India before Adrian Sutil’s confirmation on Tuesday, and Ferrari were rumored to have offered the team an engine supply for next season at a reduced rate relying they gave Bianchi (a member of the Ferrari academy) the seat. Therefore, once the French driver was confirmed to be racing for Marussia in place of Luiz Razia, many believed that a similar deal had been offered.
Lowdon did admit that Bianchi’s move could improve the chances of a contract with Ferrari, but that nothing was certain.
“You would assume it can’t hinder them, but it’s not central to the thinking behind putting him in the car.
“He’s clearly quick but also well prepared. Although the season starts pretty soon, I don’t think that’s going to faze him at all.”
Ferrari admitted last month that they were keen on securing another customer engine contract for 2014. With Sauber and Toro Rosso rumored to be switching supply when the engines downsize from V8 to V6 in 2014, Marussia may be the only team besides Ferrari to use engines developed in Maranello next year.