Marussia has confirmed that it will run only one car in Russia this weekend, despite reserve driver Alex Rossi being entered and on standby.
The team has now officially withdrawn the car, which remains in the garage carrying Bianchi’s number 17. It was clearly a difficult decision to make, given that racing both cars in Bianchi’s honour was one possible course of action.
Team boss John Booth meanwhile is still in Japan, with Bianchi’s family and his manager Nicolas Todt.
The full statement from the team reads: “The Marussia F1 Team will run a single car for the duration of the forthcoming grand prix weekend in Sochi, out of respect for their driver Jules Bianchi, who remains in hospital in Yokkaichi, Japan, in a critical but stable condition.
“The Team have written to the Stewards of the Meeting to inform them that they have withdrawn their second car. Notwithstanding the presence in Sochi of Alexander Rossi, the nominated Official Reserve Driver for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the Team feels strongly that fielding a single car, that of driver number 4, Max Chilton, is the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend.
“Jules’ car crew have built a second car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race, and this will remain on his side of the garage throughout the weekend. In support of Jules and his family, the Team and their cars will carry the familiar #JB17 graphic, to ensure that although Jules is not with them in Sochi this weekend, he is, nonetheless, racing on with the Marussia F1 Team.”
Max Chilton said: “I don’t know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules. The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules’ family at this difficult time. It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole Team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules.”
Meanwhile it remains to be see whether Rossi gets the opportunity to compete at his home race in Austin.