Less than 48 hours after the conclusion of the first race on the calendar, the Marussia F1 Team are setting up in Kuala Lumpur again in preparation for this weekend’s 2013 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, the 15th year of racing at the Sepang Circuit.
Once of the toughest back to back races logistically, the searing heat and fierce humidity the race team experience at Sepang will be made all the more palatable by such a promising debut for the MR02 and the Team’s two new drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton last weekend in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The Malaysian Grand Prix offers a more tranquil setting for the Team to get down to business after the excitement of the first race in lively and cosmopolitan Melbourne, as the work of extracting further performance from the early package continues.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22 “It has been nice to take a couple of days in Australia to really absorb the experience of my first Formula 1 race last weekend. There were quite a lot of new things to be faced with, including driving a race of that distance for the first time and bringing together everything that I had learned in the days before. This week I have had the chance to think everything through – what I have learned and where I need to go from here. I had a good debrief with my engineering team and I feel very comfortable, so now I start to think about Malaysia. I’ve done some work in the simulator and I think Sepang is a circuit I’m going to enjoy. I know the challenge it brings in terms of the heat and humidity, so I’m prepared for that. Although my debut went well, there are some areas that I need to work on and where I can improve – as you would expect – so this race we will have a little more time and experience to think about what we need to do to keep pushing forward. I’m hoping for another good performance in the race on Sunday of course.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23 “With my debut Grand Prix done and dusted, it’s time to start thinking about Round 2 in Malaysia this weekend and what we can do to build the momentum. We have shown how close we are to the midfield, so getting within striking distance of that pack is our next target and that is what I’m focusing on. It has been good to take the time to think about my first race, but with the next one coming round so quickly it’s all about moving ahead. It was my first time racing at Albert Park but Sepang is a track I know well and have raced at a few times so, to some extent, that helps in getting up to speed much more quickly and being able to focus on car set-up instead. After such a positive start to the season and an obviously competitive car, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to drive it this weekend.”
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team “The out-of-the-box reliability and performance of the MR02 has been very pleasing to see, especially as the car is quite a significant evolution of the MR01 and we have had to make the necessary modifications to accommodate KERS for this season. Having said that, one race does not make a season and we will need to work hard, particularly in these early races, to continue to take the fight to the midfield, which we have shown to be a target realistically within reach. Up and down the field, every team will be aiming to make progress and keep developing their package, so we need to maintain our current momentum. Given the tight turnaround between these two races, there won’t be any significant changes to the car. Instead, we’ll be able to look at optimising the set-up for this circuit and gathering more data to send back home in real-time, so our technical team can start working on the next batch of developments for Rounds 3 and 4. This weekend is a tough one for Team and Drivers given the challenges posed by the heat and humidity, but we’re hopeful of a similarly positive showing on the racetrack.”