Max Chilton and the Marussia F1 Team enjoyed a positive conclusion to the Team’s pre-season testing campaign today as Max ended the final day of running in 7th position.
This afternoon’s performance was all the more creditable for the fact that the day had not run entirely smoothly, with Max losing a substantial amount of track time to an electrical problem and the Team having to play catch-up with the programme.
The fourth day of testing got off to a good start with Max completing 10 laps before the issue then surfaced.
When he was able to return to the track, the Team were running to a modified programme aimed at maximising the amount of items that could be ticked off the checklist in order to be ready for the Australian Grand Prix in just two weeks’ time.
Max focused predominantly on longer race-relevant runs with the various tyre specifications as well as procedural work for race weekend conditions.
In the closing minutes of the afternoon, Max was able to benefit from a performance run to evaluate more of the outright performance of the car on low fuel, which is when he posted an encouraging lap time of 1:36.835, good for 7th position. He completed 61 laps.
Today’s running brings the Marussia F1 Team’s pre-season account from the three tests in Jerez and Bahrain up to 1777.54 kms and 334 laps. The next stop is Melbourne for the 2014 season curtain-raiser, the Australian Grand Prix, on 16 March.
Max Chilton: “Given that we’ve had a few little issues today, I’m quite encouraged by the 61 laps that we did achieve and the positive note on which we’ve ended the day. It’s a nice way to finish our pre-season testing. The way our day panned out meant that we had a lot to do to play catch-up and maximise the track time that we had left, but the items we have ticked off will be crucial in forming an overall picture for Melbourne. Generally, I think we can be pretty positive for the first race of the season. The new regulations have been a challenge up and down the pit lane and although we have also experienced a few issues along the way, we’ve also made a lot of progress. I don’t want to make any predictions because we won’t really know where we stand until qualifying and the race, but I’m feeling very optimistic as I think we‘ll be in a good position to make the most of our opportunities. My thanks to the Team trackside and back at base. We’ve come a long way since that first day of running in Jerez.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “The 12 days of pre-season testing seem to have passed by incredibly quickly. This period of the year is always very intense but this time we’ve really had our noses firmly to the grindstone, with very little respite across the whole team. Today’s performance was just reward for that effort and we now feel like we are in a good position to go racing. Today we were able to finalise many of the procedural aspects associated with running the car in a race situation. When considering the extremely complicated systems on the car, this has by no means been easy, but the work had to be done prior to Melbourne. It was nice to be able to recover from our earlier electrical problems to achieve this objective and still manage to provide Max with some qualifying practice. It was a really exciting last 10 minutes of the session and the crew really stretched themselves to the maximum, as if it were a real qualifying session. Unfortunately, leaving Bahrain does not mean all the hard work is at an end; it is just the beginning. Tonight and into the next few days the race team will be busy rebuilding the cars and the engineering team’s attention will be firmly focused on analysing what we’ve learned his week. Back at base, the first set-up development parts are already in production. Finally, I would like to thank everyone in the Team and at Scuderia Ferrari for giving us the best possible basis on which to begin our 2014 season.”