05.10.12

Japanese GP: Marussia keen to Pic up Charles for 2013

Marussia team principal John Booth has admitted that the team would “love to keep” Charles Pic for another season, saying the young French driver has had a “wonderful rookie season”.

Pic began his grand prix career having had no pre-season testing in the 2012 Marussia car and with just a few days in the 2011 challenger under his belt. But since then the French rookie has impressed, out-qualifying experienced team-mate Timo Glock on four occasions and outracing the German on several occasions. 
 
There have been rookie errors along the way, such as blocking his team-mate in qualifying in Hungary and failing to heed red flags in Singapore, but otherwise Pic has performed admirably and now Booth wants to sign the 22-year-old for a second campaign. 
 
“We’re in discussions with Charles,” he said. “He’s done an outstanding job; he’s had a wonderful rookie year. We’re in talks with his management and we’d love to keep him for 2013. He’s done a great job, particularly in getting quite close to Timo in race situations. I think he’s done a really good job there.”
 
Marussia have, however, recently signed Max Chilton as third driver, though Booth was quick to point out that the English driver was one for the longer-term future. 
 
“Max is part of our young driver programme and has been for a couple of years,” he said. “He’s part of the natural progression and maybe we’ll give him a Friday morning before the end of the year.”
 
Marussia climbed to 10th position in the Constructors’ Championship standings following Glock’s 12th-place finish in Singapore, though Booth admitted he is unsure if holding 10th place will guarantee a financial reward at season’s end. 
 
“As far as the finance is concerned it’s a little unclear at the moment as the Concorde expires at the end of the year, so we don’t really know where we are with that at the moment,” he said. “But certainly it was a great lift for the whole team. There are only 12 places there and 10th place takes some earning. These Formula One cars just don’t break down anymore. You have to earn every position. 
 
“We had a small celebration afterwards but we do realise that we still have a mountain to climb,” he added. “It’s a small step. It’s the right direction but it's not where we want to be; we want to be a bit further.”