Marussia to race with one car in Sochi out of respect for Bianchi

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Marussia F1 Team has confirmed that it will be racing with just one car at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix out of respect for Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition with severe head injuries suffering in an accident at the end of last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, and the entire F1 paddock has been sending its support and prayers to the Frenchman over the past week.

As the team’s designated reserve driver, American driver Alexander Rossi had been named on the FIA entry list for this weekend’s race in Sochi, but Marussia confirmed today that they will only be running with Max Chilton’s car.

Bianchi’s #17 car has been rebuilt and is ready to race, and will sit in the garage with the team across the course of the weekend.

“We will run a single car for the duration of the forthcoming Grand Prix weekend in Sochi, out of respect for our driver Jules Bianchi, who remains in hospital in Yokkaichi, Japan, in a critical but stable condition,” a statement reads.

“We have written to the Stewards of the Meeting to inform them that we have withdrawn our second car. Notwithstanding the presence in Sochi of Alexander Rossi, the nominated Official Reserve Driver for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the team feels strongly that fielding a single car, that of driver number 4, Max Chilton, is the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend.

“Jules’ car crew have built a second car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race, and this will remain on his side of the garage throughout the weekend. In support of Jules and his family, the team and its cars will carry the familiar #JB17 graphic, to ensure that although Jules is not with us in Sochi this weekend, he is, nonetheless, racing on with the Marussia F1 Team.”

Max Chilton will be the team’s sole representative in Russia, and said that it will be an emotional weekend.

“I don’t know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules,” he said. “The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules’ family at this difficult time.

“It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole Team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules.”