SOCHI, Russia - Formula One team Marussia said Friday they will only race with one driver at the Russian Grand Prix as Jules Bianchi battles for his life after a crash last weekend.
Max Chilton drove the only Marussia car in the first free practice on Friday for the weekend race in Sochi.
"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 said in a statement.
Reserve driver Alexander Rossi is in Sochi but Marussia said "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." Bianchi's 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."
Chilton said the whole team wanted to show support for the French driver who suffered a severe brain trauma when his car hit a recovery vehicle.
"I don't know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules," said the young Briton.
"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."