Marussia: Overnight we must get on top of the frustrations of the day

Max Chilton

Max Chilton

In this evening’s Qualifying for the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton ended the day in 20th and 22nd positions respectively.

It was anything but a straightforward story, with Jules in particular experiencing a challenging day. Towards the end of the earlier Free Practice 3 session he was spun off track by a mechanical problem which also damaged the gearbox, necessitating a penalty-incurring gearbox change between the two sessions. The Team turned the car around in plenty of time for him to start the Qualifying session but on his first run a KERS water issue surfaced and he was unable to release from the system. He returned to the garage where the team raced to fix the issue and put him back out on track with the chance for just one flying lap. In his customary fashion, Jules gave it all he had with a lap time of 1:43.398, which was good enough to split the two Caterhams.

Subbed by AJN.

Max also had his fair share of issues thanks to a DRS problem which meant that the flap would not open. Nonetheless, he was able to improve on his second run but having pushed on his out-lap to gain the tyre temperature for his flying lap, he suffered degradation on the rears which meant that the last sector was difficult.

Jules will start tomorrow’s 55 lap race from the back of the grid after the five-place grid penalty for changing the gearbox is applied. Max will be one place ahead.

Jules Bianchi: “It has not been a good day on my side, so to work hard together to come back from that is a big plus and I am happy with my final run, which was good enough to split the Caterhams.  In FP3 I had a problem at the rear which pushed me off track and into a spin. Thankfully I was able to avoid hitting the wall too hard but there was damage to the gearbox which meant that we needed to change. It is disappointing to have a good lap in qualifying to recover from FP3, only to then have a penalty that will mean I have to start from the back. We will work to find a good strategy to get ahead of the competition.”

Max Chilton: “It has been a difficult day overall but particularly in qualifying with the DRS issue. On the first laps of the second run I went faster, but on my second flying lap there was nothing left in the tyres, which is disappointing because I think Jules and I would have been pretty close again when it counted. Looking at what I lost from DRS and also by doing three laps versus one lap, we can say that the time loss was significant. However, tomorrow is another day and we’ll be pushing to make it a positive one.”

John Booth, Team Principal: “Today we have encountered more than our fair share of problems and ultimately these issues have translated into a loss of performance. With Max, the impact of the loss of his DRS in qualifying was obviously significant. We found the cause soon after the session and it will be relatively easy to fix this for tomorrow, but we didn’t give him the best shot at preparing for the race. With Jules, an issue on the car in FP3 meant that he was forced off track and while the impact was not significant, it did still cause damage to the differential and this necessitated a gearbox change. The loss of his option run in FP3 and then subsequently a KERS issue early into qualifying meant that he only really had one shot at an option lap today. We managed to fix the KERS issue in time to give Jules a second qualifying run and he was finally able to get a push-lap but there was clearly more performance to come.

“Overnight we must get on top of the frustrations of the day and I’m confident that we will address all of the issues. Over the past few races we have had the benefit of excellent starts, so I am sure we will be able to recover from our grid positions and maintain our upward turn in form with a strong race tomorrow.”