Marussia replace Chilton with Rossi for Belgian GP

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Jules Bianchi, Alexander Rossi, Max Chilton, Marussia, 2014Alexander Rossi will make his Formula One debut in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in place of Max Chilton.

Marussia say the change is being made due to “contractual issues” with Chilton.

Team principal John Booth said: “Although it was not our intention to offer Alexander the possibility to race this season, in light of the circumstances we are pleased to be providing him with the opportunity to make his Grand Prix debut at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Franchorchamps.”

“Naturally we hope to resume normal service with respect to our established race driver line-up as soon as possible, but for now we wish Alexander well for the weekend ahead and we look forward to seeing him in action.”

Rossi, who joined Marussia last month after leaving Caterham, said: “It goes without saying that I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to race in Formula One for the first time and I cannot thank the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they are demonstrating in me.”

“It’s a very big moment for me and there’s a lot to prepare in a short space of time, but on the other hand I have felt ready for this for quite a while now. It is also exciting to be given this opportunity at such a fantastic and historical circuit as Spa-Francorchamps. I can’t wait to drive the MR03 from tomorrow and I hope to reward the team with a solid race weekend.”

Rossi will be the first American driver to compete in a Formula One race since Scott Speed in the 2007 European Grand Prix.

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80 comments on Marussia replace Chilton with Rossi for Belgian GP

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  1. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 21st August 2014, 15:45

    Whoa, brilliant!

  2. He’ll be happy he switched from Caterham to the other slow dog only like a week ago?

  3. Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1) said on 21st August 2014, 15:46

    “Contractual issues” – presumably he’s running out of money to buy his seat?

  4. Chris (@cgturbo) said on 21st August 2014, 15:47

    Copycats!

  5. Contractual issues being the team figuring out how much more money Max will pay them to keep his seat. I’m very interested to see how Rossi gets on though. His GP2 results are less than spectacular though so I can’t see him staying in F1 past this weekend.

  6. Max’s sponsors haven’t paid up then.

  7. Gwilym said on 21st August 2014, 15:49

    Is “contractual issues” code for “the money hasn’t turned up”?

  8. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 21st August 2014, 15:52

    Oh dear, the money’s dried up…never mind, there’s still time for Max to join the other superstars in Formula E.
    Pleased to see Rossi get a go – and (like Lotterer) get a race. He may not have lit GP2 up, but he’s showed he can handle an F1 car in his practice runs.

  9. sozavele (@formula-1) said on 21st August 2014, 15:54

    While it is a shame for Max as a driver, he is after all or was at least at the track for the weekend having seen the Thursday gallery on the official site. However, this proves a major event for Rossi. To take advantage of this opportunity and show some of what he is capable is really exciting. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing a comparison to Lotterer given neither have masses of experience with their respective teams. If we are correct to presume Chilton is starting to run out of money could he be off the grid next season? Could it be one of the factors excluding where Bianchi may end up why they won’t decide drivers until December?

  10. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 21st August 2014, 15:55

    Nice ! truly happy ! I hope there’s a hole in Max’s wallet and the money’s gone missing !

    :) Goodluck Alex ! Show’em how’s it done !

  11. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 21st August 2014, 15:55

    I’m pretty certain that Marussia are the first team to replace a regular driver with a reserve driver since Lotus in 2012!

  12. Chris (@cgturbo) said on 21st August 2014, 15:55

    They should just go ahead and make it a rule that every team has to run a new driver this weekend!

  13. Jack (@jmc200) said on 21st August 2014, 15:58

    Good, I really can’t stand Chilton.

  14. BJ (@beejis60) said on 21st August 2014, 15:59

    As an American, I am glad to be witnessing this as it unfolds. I wonder if it has some sort of tie-in with Haas and Ferrari?

    • Not sure, but Rossi definitely has to be on Haas’s shortlist for a drive since he’s stated he wants one American.

      • JeffreyJ said on 21st August 2014, 17:00

        but is he fast though? I don’t watch every GP2 race ut as far as I’m aware off he hasn’t been spectacular at any occasion, at least not in the races I did watch.

        Since Marrusia reportedly couldn’t pay for the transportation to Spa I think this is a last minute cash grab rather than Rossi being good.

        They should ban pay driving imho. You cant stop Santander wamting to sponsor what ever team Alonso drives for but Alonso is attractive to Santander because hes good. You can prevent a Chilton situation for example though where daddy just pays

        • So how exactly would you define a pay driver then?

          All of the drivers on the grid have personal sponsors to a greater or lesser degree, so at which point do you define a sponsor from wanting to develop an association with a driver to the point where the driver is a “pay driver”? Grosjean would be a good example of that phenomenon, since Total reportedly put pressure on Lotus to retain Grosjean in the past because he was beneficial to their publicity work – whilst Total do not explicitly back Grosjean, was Grosjean an effective pay driver in that instance because sponsors were influencing the decisions of the team?

          You mock Chilton (even though, a touch ironically, his father actually has no direct involvement with the team and there is no evidence that he has paid any money to Marussia), but what about, for example, Adrian Sutil? Do you criticise him as a pay driver given his backing from Medion?
          By your logic, you should also have had open disdain for Kobayashi self financing his seat at Caterham and mocked him as a pay driver. And do you think Lotterer is a pay driver given that, according to the German press, Lotterer’s position was brokered by a personal sponsor (Hype energy drinks)?

          Equally, whilst Alonso may now be in a position where sponsors will follow him, that does not mean that sponsor influence did not play a part at the beginning of his career. When climbing up the ranks, one thing that helped bring him to the attention of Minardi was Telefonica, who were personal sponsors of Alonso in Formula 3000 and also sponsored Minardi in the late 1990′s. Even though Telefonica left Minardi before he joined, did their favourable press to Minardi before they left skew the selection process in his favour?

          Alternatively, what about the scenario where a team pays another team to recruit and train a favoured driver?
          Whilst Bianchi has shown promise, at the same time his seat at Marussia was reportedly also influenced by Ferrari throwing their weight behind the deal and promising Marussia more favourable commercial terms if they hired Bianchi. Similarly, we saw Red Bull pay HRT to fire a driver mid season to create room for Ricciardo to drive there – again, whilst he has shown potential, his initial career also owed a lot to financial backing from Red Bull.

    • matiascasali (@matiascasali) said on 21st August 2014, 17:38

      It will be also a good measure for Rossi, as Jules is regarded as one of the promising talents for the years to come.

    • I can’t help but think the same thing – with Marussia reportedly having financial woes (including non payment to Ferrari for their engines), Haas bails them out in exchange for Rossi to take Max’s seat this weekend. This is a perfect way for Haas-Ferrari to test out a potential driver for what will essentially be Ferrari’s Jr. team in 2016. Everyone wins all around, well, except for poor Max.

      Oh, and as a fellow American I’m excited too!

    • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 22nd August 2014, 0:00

      Bianchi, Rossi… add Marciello and that sounds pretty much like a Ferrari B-team! Put the name Haas on it and away we go!

  15. Lewis McMurray (@celicadion23) said on 21st August 2014, 16:02

    Once again, Marussia showing Caterham how it’s done! When bringing in a new driver for a race, which of your two current drivers do you swap out? The more talented one or the less talented one? Simples.

    • Chris (@cgturbo) said on 21st August 2014, 16:04

      @celicadion23

      The two issues are actually very different.

      Caterham wanted to introduce Lotterer, and consequently replaced Kobayashi.
      Marussia wanted to replace Chilton, and consequently introduced Rossi.

    • @celicadion23 While I agree about Kobayashi being much better than Ericsson (everybody does) but their reason is that Kobayashi does’t give good technical feedback, whereas Lotterer does.

      • How much useful technical feedback will Lotterer actually be able to provide when driving a completely new and alien car that he will be driving for the first time on Friday, will be working with a technical team he has not even met before and will be out of the team by Sunday if, as is rumoured, his sponsors have only been able to negotiate a deal just for the Belgian GP?

        Realistically, I can’t see Lotterer being able to provide any more useful feedback than Kobayashi could – Lotterer will be going into this weekend with no prior knowledge of the car, either from on track testing or simulator work, and no realistic benchmark against which he can assess the performance of the CT-05. Why would he do any better than Kobayashi in those circumstances?

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