Max Chilton will take part in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after all, having sorted his contractual problems with Marussia, thus denying Alexander Rossi a chance to make his grand prix debut at Spa-Francorchamps.
The American driver was supposed to deputize for Chilton this weekend after the team announced yesterday that the Briton had been benched until his “contractual issues had been resolved”.
However, Marussia has now performed a u-turn, meaning that Chilton will return to the car for the second free practice session later today before completing the rest of the race weekend.
Rossi was due to become the first American F1 driver to take part in a race since Scott Speed back in 2007. However, he will now have to wait a bit longer before finally ending this drought.
The team confirmed yesterday evening that Rossi would be replacing Chilton for the weekend, only for the Briton to send out his own statement saying that he had “volunteered” to give up his seat and allow the team to raise funds by selling it.
However, the team submitted a formal request to the stewards in Spa to change back to Chilton. This was accepted, and the Briton will now take part in the rest of the race weekend.
As a result, Rossi will only complete the running that he was due to in the first place, taking part in free practice one.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.