A difficult weekend for Marussia F1 Team came to an early end in Russia today as Max Chilton was forced to retire after just nine laps at the Sochi Autodrom.
The Formula 1 paddock has been sending all of its support to the team following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Frenchman remains in a critical condition in hospital with severe head injuries.
In a mark of respect for its driver, Marussia confirmed on Friday that it would be running with just a single car in Russia, leaving Bianchi’s racer fully fixed and ready to run on the other side of the garage.
Chilton had been hoping to see the checkered flag on a difficult weekend for the team, but was forced to retire after just nine laps due to a problem with the front left wheel on his car.
“After an incredibly tough week for everyone in the team, we all deserved so much more from today’s race,” Chilton said in a statement entitled ‘Teamwork’. “It hasn’t been an easy day, far from it, and all the guys have had to dig deep to get us to the grid. When we got there of course, it was very emotional with all the support for Jules. I think the team, the sport and all the fans have really done him proud.
“In the race, we got a good start then switched from the medium tire to the soft quite early on, as we always knew we wouldn’t be that strong on the prime. On lap 9 I started to feel a problem with the front left and it wasn’t going away, so I pitted for the team to investigate. In the end it was not something we would be able to address quickly, so it was best to bring a generally difficult weekend to an early conclusion.”
The team will now return to the UK for a much-needed break after an emotional back-to-back run of races.
“What the team needs now is to head home for support from their families and colleagues back at the factory,” the Briton said. “Somehow we need to find the strength to regroup and move forward, which is hard to contemplate right now.”
— Marussia F1 Team (@Marussia_F1Team) October 12, 2014