MOTORSPORT: Marussia seeking to keep Chilton for rest of season

Max Chilton takes a corner in his Marussia car during second practice in Belgium

Max Chilton takes a corner in his Marussia car during second practice in Belgium

First published in Sport

Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon has insisted the team are “working towards” ensuring Max Chilton retains his seat for the remainder of the season.

Lowdon claims “a change in circumstances” forced the Banbury outfit into a U-turn yesterday, less than 24 hours after axing Chilton ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix due to “contractual issues” and replacing him with reserve Alexander Rossi.

It was understood the numerous investors behind Chilton had failed to fulfil their financial obligations in recent weeks, forcing Marussia to act.

Rossi then drove in first practice at Spa-Francorchamps, only for the team to announce Chilton would return for second practice and the rest of the weekend.

Back behind the wheel of his car again, the 23-year-old Briton was 18th, five seconds behind Lewis Hamilton and 1.3secs off teammate Jules Bianchi.

Lowdon was unable to elaborate on the nature of the circumstances behind Chilton’s return, which far from suggested the aforementioned issues had been resolved and another reason lay behind the reversal.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the details of the contractual issues because that is confidential between parties involved,” said Lowdon.

“So there is nothing we can really say on that. This is a result of a change in circumstances.

“Obviously it is not within the team’s decision to unilaterally change a driver, we have to request it with the stewards, which we did, and the stewards approved it.

“It is important to highlight all of that happened before first practice. It was no reflection on any driving at all. I have to say Alex Rossi acquitted himself incredibly well.”

As for the situation going forward and whether Chilton will now be with the team for the rest of the campaign, Lowdon added: “The intention of the team is that it (Chilton and Jules Bianchi) is our driver line-up and that is what it will be for the whole season.

“That is certainly what we are working towards.

“We have seen there are things that can cause hiccups and changes in that, and that is just how things are.”

LEAFIELD outfit Caterham F1 have appointed Chipping Norton-based Sean Walkinshaw Racing, who race in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, as their driver development team in this category.

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