The Marussia F1 Team got straight into its stride on the opening day of action at the Australian Grand Prix, completing two positive Free Practice sessions at the Albert Park Circuit. The Team’s new recruits Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi did a stellar job on their first time out at the track, putting their respective MR02 race cars into P19 and P21 and underlining the fact that, although new to the Formula 1 grid this season, they are anything but racing rookies.
Jules Bianchi #22
“It has been a very good first practice for the Team and for me, so I am quite happy given that it is only my third day in the car. I have been looking forward to this day for quite a long time and it really worked out well I think. I’m sure it’s the case for other teams as well, because this is only day one, but it is very encouraging to know that while we have a good basis today, there is a lot more to come. We completed a detailed programme and put some good mileage on the car, so we have a lot of information to look through and see the direction for tomorrow. The car is performing well but we have quite a lot of understeer and we need to improve this. As for the track, I like it a lot. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you are up to speed it’s an amazing lap and now I can’t wait to do some more tomorrow.”
Max Chilton #23
“Our objective today was to learn the Albert Park track as quickly as possible and then start to gather plenty of information with the car and the tyres, so I’m pretty happy with what we’ve achieved in terms of the programme. Now we can start to piece that together a little more to focus on outright performance and I think tomorrow we will have a clearer idea of where we stand versus the cars around us. Even at this early stage though I’m sure we can feel positive about where we are in relation to our immediate competitors and the car has shown some real promise. Though its early in the season, that’s a nice reward for all the hard work we’ve been doing over the winter and in testing, so well done to the Team here and back at home. So, a late night tonight looking at the data and then we’ll aim to push forward again tomorrow. Albert Park is an amazing circuit and I’ve loved every second of driving it so far. Tomorrow will be another big milestone in my debut weekend with my first Formula 1 qualifying and I’m very excited about that.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“We’re very pleased with our opening day here in Melbourne and it really couldn’t have gone any better for us with our new car, two new drivers and some good signs in terms of performance and reliability. We came here with a few concerns about how things were going to play out with the tyres, but we also knew that the less abrasive track surface and high ambient temperatures would mitigate many of the issues we experienced in testing. Degradation will remain a challenge though and we can expect to see some interesting racing as a consequence of that, which is of course a good thing. We’re feeling positive but at this stage we’re not treating this as anything other than a good first day and we won’t have a true picture until we’ve completed our first qualifying and then have a race distance under our belts. What I will say though is that the Team have got us off to a good start here and the drivers have done a very solid job, so there’s a nice feeling as we head into our first Grand Prix of the new season. We’ve done all our homework today and put the drivers in a good situation to make the most of their first Grand Prix weekend, so we will see what tomorrow brings now.”