Mclaren junior driver Kevin Magnussen is on the brink of a Formula One debut. His connections with the Woking-based outfit could serve him well in the coming months as his team aims to secure him a spot with the Marussia F1 team for 2014. Marussia’s technical connections with Mclaren, most notably in the simulator and electronics department, mean paying their dues to the world champion team could include taking on their young prospect.
With Jules Bianchi already confirmed with Marussia for 2014, the final seat is surprisingly hot property for up-and-coming drivers.
Max Chilton, currently at Marussia, could be in trouble here. His season, relative to Bianchi, has been disappointing, especially considering how much more testing he was able to complete. So, with Jules grabbing the headlines early on in the campaign, Chilton was left in obscurity fighting at the very back of the field. This means his position at the team is shaky.
One thing Chilton has going for him though is cash. The role of Chilton’s father in helping Max into Formula One is very important, though not all-encompassing. With money running short at Marussia, Chilton’s role at the team could be just for cash-flow rather than as a talented asset.
This is something Marussia will have to weigh against the connections they have with Mclaren. Does the team prefer Chilton’s money or their technical tie-up with Mclaren? This isn’t to say that Mclaren would cut their ties with Marussia just because they don’t take on their driver, but it can’t be ruled out. F1 is a cutthroat business.
In the end, however, we must look at the potential of the two drivers in question, for no matter how important money is to the sport, talent will always be at the core.
Magnussen is currently leading the highly respected Formula Renault 3.5 series ironically just ahead of Mclaren’s other young driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. This series is extremely demanding and with spec cars, talent and a little bit of luck are the only two things out there to help.
Chilton’s junior record is far less convincing, with two wins in the GP2 series and a best finish of fourth in the standings his most eye-catching achievements, so don’t be surprised to see him booted out eventually. Young drivers are the future of the sport. With fewer and fewer opportunities for them to make themselves known to Formula One teams, decisions regarding their futures are all the more important.