Marussia: We lost our way a little, but we are now back on the pace

After a difficult start to the weekend, the Marussia F1 Team pulled it back again in qualifying today, with Jules Bianchi finding enough pace when it counted to split the two Caterhams. Jules finished ahead of Charles Pic in P20 with a lap time of 1:40.528 and Max ended his day in P22 with a time of 1:41.401.

Jules Bianchi: “After the problems we have experienced so far this weekend, we absolutely needed to find the right solution in time for qualifying. I’m very happy that we did this and although we haven’t been able to spend the time to tune the car, we made enough progress to split the Caterhams, which is a good result from where we were. Had we been fully there with the balance, who knows, it may have been possible to get ahead of Van Der Garde as we were just a few hundredths away. It was pretty windy in Sector 1 also, so if we look at the overall picture we have to be pretty pleased with the result. My thanks to the Team for all the hard work in resolving our problems and now we can look forward to the race with a little more confidence.”

Max Chilton: “I’m a little disappointed with my qualifying result. We’ve struggled with the car balance all weekend. We went back to where we started with the set-up to try to reduce the instability, but this made it worse and we’ve had to try quite a few things to improve. I was actually quite happy with the lap I did this afternoon, but the time just wasn’t there, which is frustrating. Our car is always better in the race and that’s what we’ve been focusing on, so we hope for better things tomorrow.”

John Booth, Team Principal: “After a long night spent looking through a huge amount of data, we identified some of the problems that had plagued our car balance yesterday, in particular with Jules. This morning’s FP3 session was really about gathering more data to see what solutions we could find for these problems and we believed we were on top of them, however when we got to the final option run, the car was again struggling for balance. Between the sessions we evaluated all the data and came up with a revised solution, going back to a set-up that was more in line with Suzuka and this appeared to help the car balance considerably. As usual in this situation you are often faced with more than one problem, so it’s good that we have been able to fix several issues, which enabled Jules to take the fight to Caterham. In hindsight we have probably spent a little too much time focusing on our race balance and this is perhaps how we lost our way a little, but it seems that we are now back on the pace and we’ll see how this set-up solution fares in the race tomorrow. Max has not been without his issues today and his balance, although improved in qualifying, certainly wasn’t quite as good as Jules. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to give him the car to move forward, but we will look into what went wrong and see what we can do to help him improve. All in all, it should be an interesting race.”