Marussia F1 Team is opting to field only two drivers over the three day long Young Driver Test at Silverstone circuit in the UK on July 17-19. All other teams who have given their line-ups for the Formula 1 event will be going with three man crews.
Marussia plans to field current GP3 series stand-out Tio Ellinas on the first day of the event. Ellinas participated in a straight-line test for the team last month, but this will be his first time getting some proper cockpit time in the Banbury, UK based team’s MR02.
The final two days, which will include a day of testing for Pirelli’s new tires, will be driven by Marussia’s reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez. Gonzalez has driven for the tam three times this season as part of Friday practices sessions at various Grands Prix.
It is a bit surprising that Marussia would not want to put one of their race drivers, either Jules Bianchi or Max Chilton, in the car for the Pirelli test in order to get better feedback on the car and the tires. After all, the two rookie wheel men have the most experience in the MR02 and considering that neither of them has finished above P13 this season they could do with some extra drive time. It would seem that by not putting either of their current race drivers on the track that Marussia is indicating a willingness to consider other options for the future.
It would seem unfair to give up on either Bianchi or Chilton after their rookie seasons, but with Marussia having one of the smallest budgets in F1 they have to consider all of their options. If signs point to one of their lower formula or reserve drivers having a better chance at stronger finishes then the team needs to explore those options. Chilton and Bianchi need to improve considerably over the second half of the Formula One season if they want to better their chances at securing a race seat for 2014, whether it is with Marussia or another team.