Charles Pic’s situation leading into his rookie season in Formula One is “sad and frustrating”. That is the claim of his manager Olivier Panis, the 1996 Monaco grand prix winner and former Toyota racer and McLaren test driver.
His well-sponsored countryman Pic, 22, will debut in Melbourne this month alongside the experienced Timo Glock, having never turned a wheel in his 2012 car. Ahead of next weekend’s season opener, the new Marussia is yet to pass all the FIA crash tests, which has left the former Virgin team grounded throughout February’s test period.
“It’s sad and frustrating,” admitted Panis, when asked about Pic’s situation. “The beginning will be difficult for him,” he told RMC.
For F1’s backmarkers, including HRT who have also struggled through the winter, the tougher crash tests are just another hurdle, atop tackling the financial might of rival giants like Ferrari and Red Bull.
The sport’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is unapologetic.
“If we tried to make things less complicated, you will always find the guys at the top looking for that tenth of a second. That’s the difference between the winners and losers,” he told the Sun newspaper.