While the Formula 1 field takes a well-earned moment to rest and recharges its batteries ahead of the second half of the season, the RichardsF1.com team has taken the opportunity to review each driver and team and their performances over the first eleven rounds of the season.
Next under the spotlight is Marussia, which finally broke its points duck at the Monaco Grand Prix. Can the team hold onto its ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings?
The early seen saw plenty of pressure and expectation on F1 cellar-dwellers Marussia and Caterham, who needed to take advantage of others’ misfortunes early in the season while the field got to grips with the new regulations.
The former duly delivered with an eighth-placed finish at Monaco for Jules Bianchi. The result became ninth after a post-race time penalty, and there were celebrations all round at the far end of the paddock.
It marked an impressive recovery when you consider that they lost almost an entire pre-season test session in Bahrain with a mysterious virus attack on their software programs; the season-opening race saw both cars forced to start the race from the pit lane after their cars shut down on the grid.
Those glitches aside, the cars have run reliably in the races, with all three retirements coming from accidents – two came courtesy of a clumsy own-goal when Max Chilton hit Bianchi on the opening lap of the Canadian Grand Prix. Its other non-classification came in Australia when Bianchi started the race many laps down after his shutdown.
This year’s design has showed promise, usually running well clear of the Caterhams and mixing it with the Lotus and Sauber runners. Aside from the points’ finish in Monaco, another highlight was the team’s double-Q2 appearance at Silverstone.
The consistency and driveability of the cars have been key to its success compared to its immediate rivals, giving the outfit its best showing in its five-year history. While it will take another high-attrition race before it will probably trouble the scorers again, the same story is true for its competition. Ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings is a fine result to-date; few would begrudge them the result come the end of the year.
RichardsF1.com Rating: 6/10
|Rank||Constructor||Races||DNS||Poles||Wins||Podiums||FL||Laps Led||Laps Raced||DNF||Pts.|
|9th||Marussia F1 Team||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||1172/1396||4||2|
It’s not surprising that Bianchi has dominated the intra-team battle with Max Chilton and led the team’s charge into the points after an impressive debut year with the Russian-owned outfit.
That being said, his year didn’t start particularly well. He wasn’t a classified finisher in Australia and then had early-race tangles in Malaysia and Bahrain that saw him summoned to the FIA Stewards.
But he knuckled down and improved, although it was the combativeness of his driving which ultimately got him the team’s first points finish when he bumped his way past Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham.
While his on-track opportunities haven’t come knocking since – aside from a strategy-assisted twelfth-placed qualifying effort at Silverstone – he took advantage of the chance to substitute for an unwell Kimi Räikkönen when the Finn was unable to drive at the following in-season test.
He performed well, and if he can tidy up a little of the wildness in his driving, the Ferrari Academy driver will be well-placed to be considered should a vacancy ever come up at the Italian team.
RichardsF1.com Rating: 8/10
Max Chilton might be personable and consistent, but he’s far from quick. However, he’s once again done a steady job behind the wheel and fits in well into the team’s Ango-Russian establishment.
Many suspected that it was this consistency – which saw him break the record for finishing every race of his maiden season last year – would net the team its first points’ finish, although the honour ultimately went to his teammate.
He did play his part in Bianchi’s Monaco success, however, cutting Räikkönen’s tyre and ensuring the Finn dropped down the order to get the Frenchman into the points when the Ferrari driver subsequently tangled with Kevin Magnussen.
Aside from a clumsy first-lap tangle with Bianchi in Canada that earned him a grid penalty for the following race, Chilton has again remained error-free.
But his seeming inability to really push the car to its limits means he is unlikely to give Bianchi a challenge in qualifying or the races. He needs to start consistently doing that if he wants to be considered for a third season in the game.
RichardsF1.com Rating: 4/10
Images via XPB Images