Constructors’ titles: 0
Drivers’ titles: 0
2012 Championship position: 11th
Team principal: John Booth
Technical director: Pat Symonds
Drivers: Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton
Marussia’s 2010 entry into Formula 1 came thanks to sponsorship from Virgin, the name they raced under for their first two years. Entering their third season in the sport under Russian sports car brand Marussia, they’re still virgins in terms of winning their first championship points.
This is also the first season in F1 for both their drivers, making them the least experienced partnership on the grid. It’s very much a youth over experience approach, apart from motorsport devotee John Booth, who as Team Principal brings some much needed experience to the backmarker outfit.
Booth’s Manor Motorsport foundation has been bringing future stars through the junior formulas since 1990 including Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Since entering F1 Booth’s focus has shifted to Virgin/Marussia, and he will be looking to his rookie drivers to step up to F1 competition in much the same way as his illustrious alumni.
How much Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton are able to impress in a back-of-the-grid regular however remains to be seen. The priority for this season is to beat rivals Caterham into 10th place, earning all-important extra revenue in order to help development work in 2014.
The controversy in preseason over dropping Timo Glock in favour of rookie ‘pay driver’ Max Chilton is part of the realities of lower teams. It’s unfair to say that Chilton would not have got his place in F1 without the sponsorship he brings, but ditching a driver with the experience of Glock in favour of yet another rookie smacks of good economic rather than racing logic.
Marussia claim their ambition is to break into midfield, and while the rule changes in 2014 will shuffle the pack, the small team in Banbury are not ideally placed currently to maximize that opportunity. Overhauling Caterham is within their grasp this season; snapping at the heels of teams higher up is still a pipe dream.
Did you know?
Red Bull employ 500 engineers to help design their cars; Marussia have just 165.
In 2014 Russia will host its first grand prix in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Can the team sponsored by a Russian supercar brand fix up in time to take points in the Motherland?