After a four week break from the track since the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Formula 1 season resumed at Spa today with the first two free practice sessions for Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.
Warm and sunny conditions yesterday created a false dawn for the teams and the light drizzle greeting them ahead of this morning’s FP1 session was more typical of this circuit. This frustrated the start of the Marussia F1 Team’s programme for the day, as they alternated between wet and dry tyres at a circuit that, due to its length, can often see varying conditions throughout the lap.
This afternoon, dry conditions prevailed, allowing for a more constructive session where the Team focused on the aerodynamic set-up required to balance the unique demands of this circuit.
Jules Bianchi: “The summer break seemed like an eternity for me so, on the whole, it is good to be back in the car and to get the second half of the season underway. It has been a little bit of a frustrating day today though, firstly with the weather making it difficult to get into the swing of things, although the experience in the wet may be useful later in the weekend. There is some work to do yet to get the car working better here but on paper this should be a circuit that suits us better than the last few races before the break.”
Max Chilton: “I’m pleased with the way things started out for me today and with the progress we were making in FP1. The car was feeling good and the programme was working well. Things were looking promising for FP2 also but unfortunately we lost the last 30 minutes of the session because of a steering rack change. The guys worked hard to ensure I could get out at the end and so let’s hope for a more straightforward day tomorrow to pick up on the positives from this morning.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “The whole team [was] pleased to be back racing today and it’s nice to be kicking off the second half of the season at such a fantastic circuit. After Hungary we spent a great deal of time evaluating our performance and we came to this event with a range of set-up options and developments to try in FP1 aimed at improving our package. Unfortunately the weather caught us out a little, as is often the case at Spa, and we were unable to test some of the developments effectively during the session. For FP2 we tried a different set-up on the two cars in order to gather as much data as possible. This proved extremely useful, however we didn’t achieve as much running with Max as we would have liked. Overall, we’ve gained a lot of useful information today and we are a little more confident in our prediction that this circuit suits our car better than was the case with the Hungaroring. We are looking forward to the rest of the weekend and hoping that all our homework pays off.” (Marussia)
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