Marussia: The car is difficult to drive in low downforce conditions

The Marussia F1 Team are pinning their hopes on their race pace here in Monza after Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton encountered a frustrating qualifying session to end the day in 21st and 22nd positions.

Jules was able to make some progress from yesterday, when he had just the afternoon session to begin setting his car up for the high-speed, low downforce characteristics of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Max’s weekend got off to a more positive start yesterday, but on both sides of the garage today it was clear that the team was not sufficiently on top of the car balance to usurp their immediate competitors.

Jules recorded a lap time of 1:27.085, while Max posted a 1:27.480.

Jules Bianchi #22:

“Unfortunately we just ran out of time to keep working on striking a good car balance here. It is clear that I am fighting the car a little and losing time because of this, but I am more hopeful that we will be slightly better off in terms of race pace tomorrow. Quite disappointing, as this is such a fantastic circuit and one I feel is particularly special to me, but all we can do is our best tomorrow and hope that some chances come our way.”

Max Chilton #23:

“After such a positive start yesterday, I was hoping for a better result today, so it’s a little disappointing and frustrating to have fallen back a bit. I do take some comfort though in the fact that much of that can be attributed to a fuelling issue, which we only discovered at the end of qualifying. 19.5 kg will have made all the difference today and it is easy to do the maths and gauge the impact that has had relative to the cars directly ahead on the grid tomorrow. So I will take some encouragement from that and the fact that our race pace yesterday did look slightly more promising. We will have our work cut out tomorrow for sure, given where we are now starting, but we will do everything possible to recover some ground.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“This morning with both cars we continued working through various mechanical set-ups in order to try to improve the balance of the car from yesterday. It is fairly clear that the car is quite difficult to drive in these low downforce conditions and despite very different set-up directions on the two cars we haven’t been able to arrive at a good compromise set-up overall. Into qualifying it is clear that tyre warm-up is a significant factor and this called for slightly longer runs than usual. On the second run we tried something a little different in order to try to gain more temperature but it seems that wasn’t quite enough and several laps were still required. Neither driver improved on their second runs and we will spend some time analysing what went wrong. On Jules’ second run, we had an issue with the DRS, which we are currently investigating and at the end of the session we also discovered a fuelling error on Max’s car – in the order of 19.5kg. This will have significantly impacted upon Max’s lap time and our overall delta to the cars in front. There’s nothing we can do about it now but it does give us some confidence that, going into the race, the gap is not quite as big as we had perhaps feared. Coupled with the question mark over the forecast for tomorrow afternoon’s race, we look forward to what will hopefully be a more rewarding day.” (Marussia F1)

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