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2014 F1

Bianchi future unclear amid Marussia uncertainty



F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice
Jules Bianchi has revealed he is not sure he will still be driving for Marussia beyond 2014.

The 25-year-old Frenchman, who is the cream of Ferrari’s driver development ‘academy’, has impressed since debuting last year with the backmarker team.

But regarding 2015, Bianchi’s future is unclear.

“I have no idea where I will be next year,” he told the Russian edition of Autosport on a visit to the Formula Renault 3.5 series in Hungary.

“I would like to have clarity, but at the moment I don’t know anything for sure,” Bianchi added.

“We are trying to find the best option for next year, but right now I just want to focus on the remaining races of the season.”

The uncertainty could be because of the management turmoil at Ferrari, which might affect Fernando Alonso’s commitment to the fabled marque amid the big-money interest of McLaren-Honda.

And Alonso’s current teammate Kimi Raikkonen has struggled notably in 2014.

“Raikkonen has already said this year that he will probably retire from F1 when his current contract expires,” former F1 driver turned BBC pundit Allan Mcnish said.

“So you have to ask how committed he is to next year if he is already coming out with remarks like that.

“If I was running Ferrari, I would want more results out of Raikkonen before the end of the year or I would be looking at the options,” McNish added.

Also uncertain is the Ferrari ‘power unit’ customer Marussia’s future, amid reports the team is struggling financially.

“It is obvious that we are very satisfied with Jules’ work,” team boss John Booth told Russia’s Championat, “and of course we want to keep him in 2015.

“But if Ferrari needs him, it is very clear that he belongs to them.

“We love working with the Ferrari family and the relationship is very good,” he said.

“We are talking with the drivers, but we will only do an announcement of the lineup, if possible, in December,” he revealed.

Booth said American test driver Alexander Rossi, who almost made his debut for Marussia recently amid the recent Max Chilton contract kerfuffle, is a possibility for the future.

But arguably more crucial for Marussia is the basic direction of the F1 team. Earlier this year, it emerged that the British-based team had split with its Russian supercar-making owner.

The team is now owned by a company called Marussia Communications Limited.

“We are proud to represent in F1 Marussia and Mr (Andrei) Cheglakov,” said Booth.

“I know that right now the supercar project is not implemented, but I hope that in the future it will be.”

But Booth hinted that he is not exactly sure what the future looks like for Marussia.

“I cannot talk about it,” he said when asked about investors’ guarantees for the 2015 season and beyond. “These are confidential questions for internal discussion only.” (GMM)


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