Max Chilton, Marussia, Monaco, 2014

Chilton says he ‘voluntarily’ gave up Marussia seat

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Chilton, Marussia, Monaco, 2014Max Chilton’s management team has issued a statement claiming he voluntarily stepped down from his race seat with Marussia this weekend.

Marussia said on Thursday he had been replaced by reserve driver Alexander Rossi for the Belgian Grand Prix due to “contractual issues”.

However Chilton claims he did so in order to help the team bring more money in.

“Max Chilton has volunteered to step out of his race seat for the weekend’s race in Spa, Belgium to allow the team to attract much needed funds by selling his seat,” said the statement.

“Max will attend the race and be on hand to support the team in any way possible.

“It is expected that Marussia will invite reserve driver Alexander Rossi to take Max’s seat.

“Marussia are currently in talks with several new investors and it is expected the situation will be resolved before the next race in the F1 calendar in Monza.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Chilton says he ‘voluntarily’ gave up Marussia seat”

  1. When was the last time that two rookies debuted in a mid-season race?

    1. My best guess is the 5th round in Spain in 1994, where Andrea Montermini and David Coulthard replaced Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna after their tragic accidents in Imola. I don’t recall anything like this in more recent years.

    2. Monza 2001, Yoong and Enge.

    3. Spa’s not a bad place to start, they’re in good company there – but we’ll let Lotterer and Rossi fight it out over which one’s Michael Schumacher, and who’s Philippe Adams.

  2. I’m sorry but this all seems very fishy….

    A driver who is paying for his seat has ‘voluntarily’ stepped out of it so the team can sell the seat to make money. Um, but they’re already getting money from Chilton?

    Unless, he’s run out, OR, Rossi is offering more. Surely that’s the main reason?

    Surely, if the team really needed money, they’d ask Jules to step aside for a race? Or maybe they’re just running Rossi to cover off the potential threat of a good race from Lotterer?

    Something fishy going on either way…

    I wonder if Toro Rsso will now turn around and go ‘Sod it, let’s just put Verstappen in now.’ Or Sauber with Sirotkin or van der Garde or de Silvestro.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      21st August 2014, 16:38

      “Surely, if the team really needed money, they’d ask Jules to step aside for a race?”

      In the article, it says “Marussia are currently in talks with several new investors and it is expected the situation will be resolved before the next race in the F1 calendar in Monza” so I reckon that is the case.

      I assume some of Chilton’s money has stopped… I also assume someone must have paid for Rossi to get a drive for Spa. It’d be very insteresting to find out who although I doubt there’s a shortage of American companies looking to get Rossi into a seat.

      1. I like Marussia as a team, but with the Marussia car company gone bust, I’d really like to see them as Manor.

        1. but with the Marussia car company gone bust

          Did they ever actually make a car? I dont remember seeing one.

          1. Neil (@neilosjames)
            21st August 2014, 19:42

            They had a couple of models, B2 was especially nice.

            It was on my lottery list for a short while. Obviously didn’t sell enough of them, though…

          2. I am pretty sure they never actually got to building and selling anything @neilosjames, they only made some prototypes as far as I am aware @george

    2. I guess Marussia gets a cut on their engine package from Ferrari for running their protegé, so its not all too clear they could replace Bianchi without getting the prancing horse to agree with it.

      But yeah, money is doing its business somewhere in this deal, be it Chilton’s not having arrived in time, Rossi having offered more something with an investment decision holding up funds somewhere.

      1. IIRC, the engine thing does happen. Besides, replacing the faster, point-scorer, FDA member Jules Bianchi to bring in money would probably be bad for their technical partnership.

      2. @bascb, Rouble collapse and banking sanctions ?

        1. That possibility certainly can’t be completely ruled out, although I am pretty sure payments from Chilton wouldn’t be hurt as such because Marussia F1 team is a UK entity too @hohum.

          After thinking about it, my guess is its somewhere in between, with the Chiltons choosing to hold back a payment while they wait to see where the team goes (what investors, if any etc), which in effect would mean “voluntarily” choosing not to have Max in the car because the money has not arrived. Or maybe Marussia asked for more now that their seat seems to be worth more for having a somewhat competative car?

  3. ‘It’s an extra hundred grand this weekend, Max’

    No young driver would do this voluntarily.

    He’s been outbid.

    1. Indeed. The ‘voluntary’ element is probably just an indication that he’s chosen not to fight it in the hope of maintaining the relationship so he can find a way back in at a later stage.

      1. @ronanc +1, exactly what I thought.

        He probably knows that no other team will take him as he drives like an alien, that is to say, more slowly than is humanly possible.

  4. One after another Unexpected things are happening, Here hoping Belgium GP will produce the best action over entire weekend
    and Max why dont you say your ERS has been Discharged completely and you need your dad’s account to get it charged

  5. Yes, the team needed volunteers to free up a seat, and they said they would like you to volunteer.

  6. No one would voluntarily give up an F1 seat.

    1. I’m guessing he ran out of money, so decided to step down before they kicked him out. At least this way he’s not severing any ties with the team and may be able to drive again in the future if he gets a new sponsor.

  7. There goes one of the true greats :-(

    1. +1 @ mrboerns,
      I was gonna say “At least he retired in his prime”

  8. after all these wowing news built up the Belgian GP, let’s hope that the racing would be fantastic
    it would be a shame if the Williams pairing couldn’t keep up with Mercedes or first turn crash happened for rookies

  9. Where’s Daddy when you need him…..

    At least Marussia aren’t dropping the better driver unlike Caterham. They obviously have a grasp of PR, unlike Caterham,who I’d be surprised if they had any support left in the stands..

    I saw loads of Green T’shirts and jackets at the British GP in 2012 and not many Red and Black. Then 2013 it evened up a bit. 2014 and Marussia merch on peoples backs outnumbered Caterham 10-1.

    1. Where’s Daddy when you need him…..

      Not too far away it seems. At least, not too far to write a check and get Max in before P2.

  10. They used to say F1 was the pinnacle of motorsport, but to be honest with the ever decreasing average age of drivers and the high rookie turnover rate, you have to wonder how many drivers are going to be saying “Yeah I did a stint in F1 when I was a kid, but I moved on into GT/Endurance racing and had a lot more fun and success. It was actually racing rather than a PR/gimmick circus”.

    1. Gimmicks like arbritary limits on the best packages, such as Audi’s engines, the single-team Twin turbo category, etc.

  11. I actually think some of these comments are a little unfair on Max. I’m not a massive fan, and when you look at the talent thats either been ejected from F1 or waiting in the wings he does seem a little out of place. However getting that Marussia to the end of 20 something races is no mean feat. One of the most important things about F1 is consistency, sure maybe he’s consistently slow, but his efforts last season would have done his engineers huge favours.

    F1 is a brutal world, Max and his entourage know they jumped plenty of others by waving a cheque, now its happening to him, tough breaks. As a Brit I’d like to see him flourish into a good racer, if its in F1 or anywhere else, if he comes back I hope we see him pushing Jules all the way to the end of the season.

    Best of luck Max and Alex

    1. 2 thumbs up.

  12. The events of this week leading up to the Belgian GP are really symptomatic for the current financial state of F1. What teams are still financially (reasonably) healthy? Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams, Torro Rosso, Mclaren (though the title sponsor they announced at the start of the season never materialised)? I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a 16 car grid in 3 years time…

  13. Nice try, Max. I am sure the team will miss your ‘performance’ :)

  14. Neil (@neilosjames)
    21st August 2014, 19:47

    Read earlier that Marussia were in danger of not even making it to their ‘home’ GP, due to sanctions affecting sponsors from said home (judge13).

    So makes sense for all parties if they needed to do this just to survive…

  15. HA!

    It’s not a very good joke Max…

  16. I lol’ed !

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