In a startling turnaround the Marussia team have dropped recent signing Luiz Razia in favour of Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi. Razia was unable to supply sponsorship money he had promised the team after one of his main backers, as yet unnamed, pulled out without warning.
Bianchi, who had until yesterday been involved in a shootout with German Adrian Sutil for the second Force India seat, brings the total number of Frenchmen on the grid for 2013 to four, while Felipe Massa is now the sole representative of Brazil. Razia had been in the car at the first test in Jerez, but failed to appear during the second test of the year at Barcelona before rumours surrounding his financial career started circulating in the paddock early this week. Marussia team boss Graeme Lowden refused to be drawn yesterday, claiming “…as far as I’m concerned, we have a contract with Luis for 2013.”
This has turned out not to be the case and Bianchi is already undergoing a seat-fitting with the Anglo-Russian squad in anticipation of driving in the remaining two days of the final test.