MOSCOW, July 20 (R-Sport) – The Marussia F1 team is searching for a Russian driver but will not employ one at any cost, executive director Andy Webb has told R-Sport.
In their fourth F1 season, the Russian-owned team is currently represented by rookies Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, and is yet to register a point in the sport.
“We have a young-drivers scheme where we’re constantly trying to find people to put on,” Webb said. “We want a Russian driver, but we want a Russian driver there on merit.”
One possibility is the first Russian driver in F1 history, Vitaly Petrov, who spent three seasons with Renault and Caterham.
"We have got some other karters on our books. There’s the obvious one – Petrov. But it’s very difficult to find the next one coming through.”
Russian driver Sergei Sirotkin is set to join Sauber next season, just in time for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
“We’ve been aware of him, of course,” Webb said of Sirotkin, adding the team also have others on their list. “We’ve had closer links with [Mikhail] Aleshin and [Ivan] Lukashevich," he said, talking of up-and-coming Russians.
Marussia increased their clout in the sport this week by signing a three-year contract with Ferrari to provide engines and gearboxes.