We’re back on the road again this weekend as the first trucks leave our Banbury headquarters for the start of the European season, which begins next week with the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is very familiar territory for all of the teams – a real home from home – since it is where much of the pre-season testing is conducted. It is also a barometer circuit, in that its characteristics comprise a bit of everything the remaining tracks are likely to offer up during the balance of the season, so it is a good venue at which to field our next round of developments and more accurately interpret results.
For Friday’s FP1 session, the MR02-03 of Max Chilton will be given over to Reserve Driver Rodolfo Gonzalez, who will run alongside Jules Bianchi. Max will return to the cockpit for FP2.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22
“Although my first four races have been quite positive – and a nice adventure for me personally – as a driver in my debut season it is good to be heading into the start of the European season. The tracks are very familiar to me from previous formulae and that just provides a further confidence with interpreting the information we collect and how we roll that back into performance. The Team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress so it will be good to verify our findings with the package so far and of course to explore our new developments for Spain. I’m looking forward to getting busy in the car again.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23
“It will be great to get back down to business in Spain, where there will be a lot to focus our attentions on. We’ve learned a lot in the first four races and quite a lot since, with the technical team having been hard at it in the break. What we bring to the Circuit de Catalunya is the product of four races of evaluation coupled with the next step in our ongoing development path, so it will be interesting to see how we can progress from Bahrain. On a personal level this is a track I enjoy and have raced at plenty of times, and that will also be useful as we work through a busy evaluation programme on Friday in particular. I’m looking forward to it.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“After a good long break since the Bahrain Grand Prix, we head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared for the start of the next phase of races. It was a whirlwind start to the season for us in some ways and the past few weeks have allowed the drivers in particular to draw a little more breath. Barcelona is always an interesting race as it provides a very good barometer of car performance up and down the grid and also the benefit of the new upgrades most teams will bring to their cars. We are no exception and having tested here over two weeks pre-season, we’ll be taking the opportunity to use that baseline data to further analyse our progress to date, conducting some back to back work with our Bahrain package prior to fielding our new developments for this race. Bahrain has always been a race that we have struggled at so we are hoping that the Circuit de Catalunya will provide further confirmation of the positive development direction we have been following.”