F1 Biography: Max Chilton

  • Max Chilton
  • Marussia F1 Team
  • Born 4/21/1991
  • Surrey, England
 Chilton Max Marussia C600

Less than two weeks out from the start of the 2013 Formula One World Championship, it is once again time to take a look at the coming season’s bumper crop of rookies.  Though none of them are debuting at the very sharp end of the grid, the five newcomers are all previous winners in the lower formula and share multiple titles already under their belts.  All of them are champions, that is, except for young Max Chilton.

Thanks to the 107% rule, long gone are the days of hopelessly slow, inexperienced pay drivers showing up, buying a ride and tootling around at the back of the grid.  Now that’s not to say that the modern F1 field isn’t still ripe with seats bought with family, corporate or government money, of course, and Chilton may be the newest example of the full on GP seat buyer.  Still, with the 9.5 million pounds reportedly needed for him to get his ride with Marussia, Chilton claims that the drive was not paid for with family funds, even with his father Graham being a multi-millionaire.

Back to the case of the ‘slow’ driver buying a ride, it is difficult for me to doubt that even the slowest driver in a modern Formula One car would need to have more talent and skill than a good portion of humankind.  But on that subject, Chilton’s racing record is not the kind which would normally merit one of the twenty-two most coveted seats in the racing world.

With the arbitrary early career spent in karting, Max moved into cars at the relatively young age of fourteen, where he spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons racing T Cars, a saloon series for drivers between fourteen and seventeen years of age.  He finished 3rd in that first season, despite taking no wins, and moved up a spot to 2nd the following year on the strength of seven victories.  This would be Max’s best season showing so far, as he has only scored three wins in subsequent formulae since and has not finished a season higher than 4th.

For 2007 and at just sixteen-years old, Max moved to open wheels with Arena International in the British F3 series, where he would finish no higher than 11th all season.  After a switch to Hitech Racing, he would improve the following year with two poles, two podiums and a 10th place season finish.   2009 brought yet another change of team’s, as he moved to Carlin Motorsport, where he would secure three poles and take two wins, finishing the year out in a vastly improved 4th.

2010 saw another step up the ladder with Ocean Racing in GP2, where Max’s highest finish would be a 5th place and he would finish the season back in 25th.  Chilton was then back with Carlin, the team well-funded by Max’s own father, Graham.  The move would only see a jump up to 20th by the end of 2011.  For 2012, Marussia came on board with Carlin and the extra backing helped the team make a step up.  Chilton was able to take another win and score consistently throughout the year, resulting in a leap up to 4th in the final standings.

With six full seasons of open wheel racing behind him, Max Chilton has managed just three wins and an average season ending standings finish of 13th place.  Formula One material?  Well, Grace is the snarky one, but I’ll just say that I sure wish my own old man was worth a hundred million!

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