Marussia: A tough day today where we have encountered a number of problems

Max Chilton

Max Chilton

The Marussia F1 Team was happy to get the practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas underway this morning, although FP1 was rather a topsy-turvy affair for the whole field. The start was delayed for 40 minutes by fog and then a red flag was deployed early into the already abbreviated session due to operational problems with the medical helicopter.

Rodolfo Gonzalez completed his eighth FP1 session of the season, running alongside Max Chilton in Jules Bianchi’s car 22. Max enjoyed a positive morning and finished ahead of Charles Pic in 20th position. It was a similarly constructive session for Rodolfo but his progress was curtailed towards the end when the engine responded to a ‘kill’ mode used on Fridays and turned itself off after detecting a problem.

This afternoon, Jules resumed normal service and was able to get his first taste of the circuit, although it wasn’t a very straightforward acclimatisation for him as the car balance was problematic. Despite a brake disc failure, Max finished in 21st position with Jules 22nd.

Max Chilton: “Generally I’ve had a good day today when everything seemed to be going in a positive direction, so I think we have to look beyond the brake disc problem that cut short my afternoon session because we seem to be making good progress. Luckily we didn’t lose much time and we can find a good solution for the rest of the weekend. I have enjoyed my first day at the Circuit of the Americas and hope to see this continue tomorrow and into the race.”

Jules Bianchi: “When the day is cut short to just one session it is not always easy to properly acclimatise to the circuit and be in a good place with the car balance by the end of the day. Today this was made even more difficult by the fact that the car balance has been really inconsistent, and we had to try lots of different things to try to improve. We won’t know which is the right solution or how well it will work until the engineers have looked at all the data this evening, but it has been a tough day and I hope we can resolve a few things overnight to ensure we can have a better day tomorrow.”

Rodolfo Gonzalez, Reserve Driver: “Today was not a very straightforward day but we did make progress with the programme so it’s just a shame to experience the engine problem at the end of the session. I had a very specific programme to help the team understand some race trim issues experienced over the past few races so it’s good that we have some useful data to work with.”

John Booth, Team Principal: “Overall, a tough day today and one where we have encountered a number of problems. This morning, Rodolfo’s session was cut short by a problem with the engine, however up to that point he was doing a good job learning the circuit in what were quite cold – and therefore quite low grip – conditions. Max had a good morning during which we chose to run with relatively high fuel in order to remain flexible with the time we had available on the circuit. For the afternoon we had decided that we would run race fuel throughout so that we could look to improve the race balance issues. With Max we were well on target to complete the programme and arrive at a reasonable balance on the car, but unfortunately a brake disc failure on the right front curtailed his running. We will investigate this tonight and look to make the necessary changes going forward to the race. With Jules it was a tough ask for him to go straight into high fuel running but we felt this was required in order to formulate as full a picture as possible. Unfortunately, his car balance has been very inconsistent and this led us to try to [make] a number of changes to parts on the car during the session to try to understand this. We have a busy evening ahead to work through all the data and make progress ahead of tomorrow.”

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