sport

Lowdon saviours breakthrough

Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon had to resort to buying his own champagne to celebrate the hard-up team's first points in Formula One.

Now in their fifth season in the sport, and at the 83rd attempt, the Banbury-based marque finally conjured a top-10 finish.

It could not have come in a more prestigious race, with Jules Bianchi ninth at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix, and that after starting at the back of the grid and serving two penalties.

Although assisted by two safety car periods, eight retirements and a number of other incidents, the Frenchman was there at the end when it mattered most.

A delighted Lowdon said: "It's progress, which is really the important thing. We've shown we can move forward.

"When you see progress in a small team every single person knows they have contributed to it, and that's what makes it so valuable to everyone involved."

With the team spending just 2,000 on upgrades since the recent in-season test in Barcelona, Lowdon outlined the difficulties they face.

"If we were to spend another couple of thousand we'd go even quicker," added Lowdon.

"The bottom line is that development money has to come last. You've an obligation to pay people to do everything, and so we don't have the development budget.

"We're not limited by ingenuity, we've some really clever guys and they know what to do.

"We know if we apply some more resource to the car, we'll go quicker, but it's an expensive business even before you try and make the car do that."

But as for quaffing a glass of bubbly, Lowdon remarked: "I think there's been some drunk already but I missed it all.

"I haven't had any. I'll have to buy my own. I'll certainly buy the lads a drink - and very well deserved it is too."

For team principal John Booth, the Yorkshireman had a double reason to celebrate with Rotherham United promoted to the Championship after their League One play-off final win over Leyton Orient.

"I'm absolutely over the moon - amazing!" said Booth.

"We mustn't diminish Jules' role in all this. He drove a fantastic race, never gave up. Back of the grid and two penalties as well, but he kept pushing.

"On Thursday after practice I thought we had a chance of a strong race, but we knew we still needed some things to happen to allow us to take the chance.

"After qualifying, and then the penalty for the gearbox and starting last, it didn't give us a lot of hope.

"But this great result now helps us with our aim of securing 10th in the championship. That's very important to us."