Cool conditions greeted the teams at the Shanghai International Circuit today for the first free practice sessions of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
After a positive test in Bahrain in the days following the last Grand Prix, the Marussia F1 Team’s programme for the day was mainly focused around fine-tuning the latest set-up developments to suit this 5.451km circuit and exploring the behaviour of the two tyres of tyre at a track with far more lateral demand than Sakhir.
Jules Bianchi #17: “I keep saying that my objective is to have some better luck, but this morning I had barely completed my installation lap when we experienced a fuel system problem on my side and I had to sit out much of the session. The team worked really well to get me some track time at the end of the morning and to ensure that we were on top of the problem for the afternoon. I completed 7 laps in FP1, which were still quite important and I was pleased with the balance of the car at this stage. The afternoon session was better for me and I’m pleased that I ended up ahead of my nearest competitors. We still need to work on the performance of the car here but with all the information we have I’m sure we can make good progress overnight.”
Max Chilton #4: “The conditions we are experiencing here are very different to Bahrain, so while we completed a lot of the preparation work for this race in Bahrain, we have needed to make adjustments to suit the specific nature of this track. We’ve made some good progress but our efforts have been hampered a little by some problems with the DRS, and this has prevented us from getting a good rhythm. Generally though, I’m quite happy with the way the race runs went and I’m feeling positive for the weekend ahead.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “Off the back of what was a very positive test last week, it is unfortunate that we have arrived here with a couple of issues, which have hampered the programme slightly today. From the very start of FP1, unfortunately we experienced a fuel system issue with Jules, although this was quickly rectified and he was able to get some baseline running completed at the end of FP1. Throughout the day, we have seen problems with our DRS system on both cars, and this has proved difficult to fix during running. The problem affected both drivers, but perhaps more so Max. On the positive side, the car seems to be behaving well in terms of balance and although there are some improvements to be made overnight we are reasonably happy with where we are. Tonight we will focus on a permanent fix for our DRS issues along with working through the data to try to improve the balance of the car ready for tomorrow. Looking at the weather we may have to deal with different conditions, so I’m sure it will be another interesting day.”