Marussia still have 'possibilities to explore' in deliberations over second seat for 2014
Graeme Lowdon also says 2014 car is right on schedule
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 29/10/13 4:51pm
Marussia Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon has said that fielding two drivers with Formula 1 race experience would make sense for the team next season - but admits there are "still possibilities that we need to explore".
The Banbury-based outfit have one seat still open for 2014 following confirmation that Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi would be retained for a second season.
Several drivers are believed to be in the running for the other drive, including incumbent Max Chilton and McLaren's young talent Kevin Magnussen, as confirmed by Lowdon himself earlier this month.
Next season witnesses an overhaul of F1's engine rules from V8 to V6 turbocharged power units, in addition to more complex energy recovery systems, and Ferrari explained that their decision to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen to partner fellow World Champion Fernando Alonso was partly because they wanted to field the most experienced drivers possible for the all-new 2014 technical challenge.
Marussia might be at the opposite end of the grid, but Lowdon says such thinking also makes sense to them.
"One of the things about next year is the technical challenge is going to be huge, for all the teams," he told Sky Sports Online.
"A lot of things are going to be new and so I think there's a strong argument to say that having an experienced line-up would benefit the team.
"Typically we've had an experienced driver and then a young driver alongside, and this year was a departure for us in that we've had two rookie drivers who have done an extremely good job.
"So there's a strong argument to say that it'd be nice to carry the driver line-up through to next year."
Should Chilton get the nod to stay on alongside Bianchi, then it would be the first time in the team's four-history that they have retained a driver line-up for the following season.
However, amid a climate in which finances are dominating - and delaying - teams' decisions over drivers for 2014, Lowdon added: "That said, like a lot of things in Formula 1, we're not in control of all of the variables so we'll have to wait and see.
"Until we can finalise and announce the driver line-up then there are still possibilities that we need to explore."
Having been powered by Cosworth since entering F1 under the Virgin name in 2010, Marussia will be boosted for F1's new engine era by switching to Ferrari power, with the deal to see the team use the Scuderia's full 2014 powertrain.
Lowdon says work on next season's car is progressing well.
"Looking forward to next year and we've got a lot of positive things in place," he added.
"Our developments are all on schedule for next year. We're really looking forward to it with anticipation."
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend - coverage begins with the Drivers' Press Conference on Thursday at 11am