The Marussia F1 Team has confirmed that “three or four drivers” are in the frame as possible drivers in its second car alongside Jules Bianchi in 2014.
The team is still considering whether or not to re-sign Bianchi’s current teammate, Max Chilton, for next year.
While Bianchi’s reappointment was confirmed two weeks ago, Chilton’s future remains unknown, although the Banbury-based team has admitted that it would be ideal to field the same driver line-up next year, which will be the first under the sport’s new turbocharged technical regulations.
Chilton has been outperformed by Bianchi for much of the 2014 season, although he delivered his best qualifying performance of the season at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“Max is definitely an option because on the driving side he is doing a really good job,” Marussia’s sporting director, Graeme Lowdon, told the Press Association.
“There has been real progress in a number of areas. We’re really quite keen to see continuity for next year because of the big technical change.
While Chilton remains at the top of the team’s shopping list, Lowdon has also admitted that up to three other drivers could also be in the frame, including McLaren protégé Kevin Magnussen (pictured below right), who currently leads the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.
Loaning the Dane to Marussia would be a useful insurance policy for McLaren – which already shares its technical resources with Marussia – as it would allow it to evaluate his potential with the view to promoting him into its race line-up while he gains some experience further down the grid.
“Like any team that hasn’t confirmed drivers, there are a number of possibilities,” Lowdon added.
“Certainly Kevin has impressed in the tests he has done, and as a team that has brought young drivers into Formula 1, he is in the frame.
“But there are probably three or four drivers with good potential looking to get into Formula 1, and we’re talking to a number of them, along with other teams.”