Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton has said that it is almost impossible for teams to pay for their drivers in the current economic climate. As a result, there is an increasing group of drivers, who pay for their racing seat through sponsors. Chilton is also one of the drivers who has been able to secure a seat on the Formula One grid by paying sponsorship to the Marussia F1 team. Even though they have an annual budget of £ 39 million, it is insignificant in the sport where the top drivers earn around the same amount.
Drivers like Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel are paid to race at the top level, while the likes of Chilton come into the sport hoping to show their skills and quality. The 21-year-old has said that it is almost unavoidable in the sport in the current economic climate. He has pointed out to the fact that more than 75% of the drivers on the grid right now are sponsoring their team in one way or the other. The 21-year-old rookie has had a decent start to the F1 career.
He has been able to finish all the four races he has started so far. However, he is yet to collect points in the F1 season.
“With the current (financial) situation in Formula One, probably 75 percent plus of the drivers on this grid have to bring something to the team. In the UK, you have what’s called an Enterprise Investment Scheme… and the new venture here is investing in a young and up-and-coming driver. Obviously it’s not the dream way of doing it because you’re giving away part of your future. It’s a good way of doing it and I think a lot of people will start doing it in the future,” said Chilton senior.
Williams have had two tough races at the start of the 2013 F1 season. Both drivers have expressed dissatisfaction with the way that the car has performed in these two races. As a result, Williams are contemplating using the exhaust from the previous season in the hope of improving the performance. Williams have struggled with their handling and pace in the first two races of the season. The FW35 car has not been the favourite of both drivers, which could see the exhaust from the 2012 car used in the 2013 version in a bid to improve the performance.
The technical boss of the team, Mike Coughlan, has admitted that the decision by the team to use the ‘Coanda’ type aerodynamic exhaust is one of the main reasons for the struggles faced by the team at the start of the 2013 F1 season. He has said that this is the first time that Williams have adopted this technology. Coughlan has said that there is a serious need within the team to go back to set up that is comfortable and consistent for the drivers. Coughlan has ruled out the possibility of going back to the FW34 car, but has said that the exhaust from this vehicle can be used in the current cars.
He has said that the team could use the Friday practice sessions as testing days. “We need to go away and get a more consistent platform for the driver. We’re of the opinion at the moment that a FW34-type of car would be faster. I don’t think we’ll go back to an FW34, but we might go back to an FW34-style of exhaust system and treat Fridays as tests across cars,” said Mike Coughlan. The 11th place finish by Valtteri Bottas at the Malaysian Grand Prix is the best finish for the team this season.
After the departure of Timo Glock at the end of last season, Max Chilton has become the main driver at Marussia. Chilton has said that he is now capable of making changes to the team on his guidance despite his rookie status in the F1 paddock. The German driver Glock was recently replaced with Luiz Razia, which has made Max Chilton as the experienced driver within the team. Luiz Razia is rumoured to be a pay driver for the team, as they have made the decision to put survival over achievements this season. Even though Chilton himself has not started a race yet, he has said that he has been able to provide several inputs to the team after the first few days of pre-season testing.
Aerodynamic updates are expected to play a major role for the team in the coming 2013 season, but it is not the case according to the driver Chilton. He has said that the team has been doing well over the last eight months, but getting the other set-up of the car is also equally important. He feels that the team has a solid base on which they can build on the upcoming season. He has also identified the breaking and mechanical aspects of the car as possible areas to improve.
“I think I can ask them questions and they can ask me to do things just as much,” Chilton said. “I know the team now well enough after the last eight months since I did the rookie test so I know them quite well and I feel like I can ask or say ‘yeah that was my fault’ or ‘that was your fault’. So it’s a really good situation and this test the last three days being in the car has been really beneficial because you can get some really good,” said Chilton.