Marussia front wing
Posted on March 16, 2013 · Posted in Sports

I’ve always been a fan of the underdog in any matchup and for the past few years I’ve been hoping that Marussia, Caterham or the now defunct HRT team would be able to leap into the top five teams. Unfortunately the last three years have seen a rotating lineup of these same teams at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship and consistent poor performance eventually claimed HRT. Based on winter testing and today’s practice sessions, it’s clear that both teams could be next.

In the first two practice sessions for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, Caterham and Marussia drivers filled spots 19-22 with the top driver being Jules Bianchi (who replaced Luiz Razia, a pay driver whose sponsors ironically missed payments). Bianchi was 3.8 seconds off Sebastian Vettel’s top time and while he was just four-tenths off the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, it’s clear that neither team will be competitive.

Marussia, Caterham and the now defunct HRT racing teams were drawn to Formula 1 on the promise of cost cutting measures which would have made it less expensive to operate a team. However they never materialized and barring any significant changes in the Seventh Concorde Agreement, who knows what will happen. The burn rate for Marussia is a reported £1.5 million/week and with the money structure of F1 being what it is, the team is in for another red year by tens of millions of dollars.

If you want to put your name and money on the line, owning a racing team of any kind, much less a Formula 1 team, is the easiest way to lose it all. Start a winery so that even if you fail, you can have something to drink at dinner.

Below are the full results for the second practice session:

Rank Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 01:25.9
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 01:26.2
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 01:26.3
4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 01:26.4
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus 01:26.7
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 01:26.7
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 01:26.8
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 01:26.9
9 Adrian Sutil Force India 01:27.4
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 01:28.2
11 Jenson Button McLaren 01:28.3
12 Paul Di Resta Force India 01:28.3
13 Sergio Perez McLaren 01:28.6
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 01:28.6
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 01:28.8
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 01:28.9
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 01:28.9
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams 01:29.4
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 01:29.7
20 Charles Pic Caterham 01:30.2
21 Max Chilton Marussia 01:30.6
22 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 01:32.5