May 26 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Marussia crowned its hero Jules Bianchi in Monaco, after the French driver on Sunday delivered the backmarker team its first-ever F1 points.
Maintaining the spot in the constructors’ chase ahead of Caterham and even Sauber would now be worth dozens of millions of dollars in F1 prize money to the struggling team.
Ironically, however, Frenchman Bianchi’s feat could also cost Marussia the talented, Ferrari-backed driver.
“It felt like a victory to me,” the 24-year-old said on Sunday. “Even if it does not mean so much for others, for us this ninth place is like a win,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
But Bianchi also admitted that Monaco 2014 could be the turning point in his career.
“It can only help,” he said, “but as for the future, we will have to see as the season progresses. I do feel ready for a top team.”
Bianchi’s result earned praise even from arguably the very best driver on the grid, Fernando Alonso.
“He is not only a Ferrari junior driver,” said the Spaniard, “but also a friend.
“We spend a lot of time together at Maranello,” Alonso is quoted by Speed Week. “We play football and basketball and also travel together a lot. I am so pleased for him.
“I have no doubt that he will have a very good career and so I hope that this result helps him to find a competitive cockpit for next season,” he added.
The task now for Bianchi’s manager, Nicolas Todt, is obvious.
“It is often said that Monaco is a driver circuit,” said the Frenchman, the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado’s manager.
“Yes, he benefitted from what happened in the race but when you see his lap times, he had the pace.
“My job now is to try to ride this little wave,” Todt is quoted by BFMTV, “as they do not come along every day.”