Marussia still 'has mountain to climb'
6 October 2012
Despite moving to the heady heights of tenth place in the constructors' championship after Timo Glock's performance in the Singapore Grand Prix, Marussia team boss John Booth insists that there is still a long way to go before the squad can celebrate properly.
With none of the three newest teams - Marussia, Caterham and HRT - having yet scored a point in F1, their battle for the final paying place in the standings comes down to who can produce the best result over a given season. Prior to Singapore, Caterham held the upper hand courtesy of the 13th places earned by Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in Monaco and Valencia respectively, but Glock's run to twelfth around the streets of Marina Bay - spot a common link between the three performances - elevated Marussia above its rival with six races remaining in the season.
With the future commercial side of F1 still unclear as teams dither over signing up to the next edition of the Concorde Agreement, Booth admits that he is unsure of what finishing tenth in 2012 will mean for his squad, but acknowledged its achievement nonetheless.
"As far as the finance is concerned, it's a little unclear at the moment as the Concorde expires at the end of the year," he confirmed, "We don't really know where we are with that at the moment but, certainly, [moving to tenth overall] was a great lift for the whole team.
"There are only twelve places there and tenth place takes some earning. These F1 cars just don't break down anymore, [so] you have to earn every position. We had a small celebration afterwards, as you do, but we realise that we still have a mountain to climb. It's a small step [and] it's the right direction, but it's not where we want to be. We want to be a bit further [up the table]."
With a fraction of the budget of F1's 'big boys', Marussia is obviously limited in its technical resources and does not exactly have free rein when it comes to signing drivers, but Booth could find himself in the enviable position of having to choose between two rapid youngsters for next season, following the promotion of Max Chilton to official reserve behind Glock and Charles Pic. The move has led some to predict that the Briton will be in the full race line-up next season, with Pic rumoured to be talking to both Sauber and Caterham, but Booth was not about to commit either way.
"We're in discussions with Charles, [and] he's done an outstanding job," he pointed out, "He's had a wonderful rookie year, [and] done a great job, particularly in getting quite close to Timo in race situations, [so] we're in talks with his management and we'd love to keep him for 2013. Max is part of our young driver programme and has been for a couple of years. He's part of the natural progression and maybe we'll give him a Friday morning [practice run] before the end of the year."
Chilton has already been tipped to take part in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the Yas Marina circuit is the one he has prior experience of following outings there in GP2 Asia. The Briton is backed by his father's Aon concern, but insists that that alone would not be enough to pay his way into the Marussia line-up.