Max Chilton feels that he deserves a seat on the 2014 Formula 1 grid. His current team-mate Jules Bianchi was recently confirmed to be staying at Marussia for the 2014 season and the Brit believes he also deserves to remain on the grid.
Chilton made the step up from GP2 to Formula 1 this season and had a difficult start to his Formula 1 career. He was consistently out-qualified and out-raced by Bianchi but in recent races he has closed the gap and improved his pace both on Saturday and Sunday.
Impressively, the rookie has finished every single race of the season so far with a best result of 14th around the tight and twisty Monaco streets.
Talking to the Press Association he said: “I’ve proven I’ve got the pace and consistency, as I’m now the only driver to have finished every race. In F1, like in any sport, it’s the whole package. Sometimes it’s not always about ultimate pace; you need to prove you can bring the car home in the races. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.
“The last five races have been really encouraging, and to do what I did in qualifying [in Japan] was a step in the right direction.”
He added: “I feel I’m showing not just the team, but everyone on the whole, I deserve a seat for next year. Everyone gets judged, so you have to prove yourself, which is hard for rookies these days because there is so little testing, which means it’s going to take part of the season to get up to speed.”
Whilst he admits that mistakes have been made, he has been pleased with his post-August break performances: “I’ve been really happy with my performance, as have the team, and I’ve been really happy with them. It’s going really well.”
The 22-year-olds first taste of Formula 1 came in 2011 when he took part in a straight line test for Force India. He drove for them in the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test later that year before being appointed as Marussia’s test and reserve driver for the fly-away rounds of the 2012 season. He drove for the team in the Young Driver Test at Silverstone and also took part in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He was announced as one of their race drivers in December 2012.
He finished 19th at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend after out-qualifying both Caterham cars and his team-mate on Saturday afternoon. Despite starting from 18th on the grid and ahead of his closest rivals, he slipped behind Charles Pic during the race after a brief trip through the gravel.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic