Friday, March 21, 2014

News: Marussia Manor Racing reveal new GP3 driver line-up

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Whilst the Banbury-based big boys began the F1 season in Australia last weekend, Marussia's GP3 team is gearing up for the start of the new season.

Rotherham's Manor Grand Prix was an unlikely name on the line up for the 2010 F1 season. The Rotherham team became Virgin Racing when they announced a link up with Richard Branson in December 2009. Russian company Marussia Motors acquired a significant shareholding in 2010 and the team became Marussia Virgin Racing. For the 2012 season, the team became Marussia F1.

The Marussia F1 team moved from Rotherham to Banbury in Oxfordshire to be closer to McLaren, their technical partners for the 2012 season. Rotherham-born John Booth remains as the team principal and the team's former headquarters at Dinnington is now home to the Marussia Manor GP3 team.

The GP3 series follows the Formula One European calendar and the emphasis is on developing driver skills, with all teams using the same chassis, engine and tyre suppliers.

The GP3 team, which is the primary vehicle for the Marussia F1 Team's Driver Development Programme, is now in its fifth season of competition. Having won races last season, the team is targeting the Championship title in 2014.

Ryan Cullen, 22 years old and from Ireland, remains with the team for a second season and will be joined by Finnish youngster, 17 year old Patrick Kujala and British ace, 23 year old Dean Stoneman.

The Marussia F1 Team will again offer the most successful Marussia Manor Racing driver of the GP3 season the opportunity to test its Formula 1 car. Tio Ellinas benefited from a day in the F1 car at last season's Young Driver Test and will again return to test in 2014 as the top placed driver in 2013.

The team has achieved great success in Formula 3 and Formula Renault. Former F1 champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton both graduated from the John Booth "school of excellence."

Pete Sliwinski, team principal at Marussia Manor Racing, said: "Once again we head into the GP3 season with great optimism. This series is the best place for a young driver to prove themselves; highly competitive, with a great car and engine package and running alongside the F1 schedule, which certainly puts their talent in the spotlight."

Marussia F1 website

Images: gp3series.com

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