Marussia driver Jules Bianchi has admitted that the remaining races on the 2013 calendar will be a “tough challenge” for the team, but that they are pushing hard to extract the maximum from the package that they have.
The team managed to get both cars into the second qualifying session last time out in Belgium thanks to an inspired decision to switch to slick tyres on a damp but drying circuit. After the highs of Saturday, reality bit back on Sunday after they failed to maintain their grid positions and slipped into the usual order.
Speaking in a team statement, Bianchi admitted: “We had a very positive qualifying session in Spa which gave us all a great boost, but Sunday showed us how hard it is to hang on to the opportunities we create for ourselves. The remaining races will be a tough challenge for us, but we know what we have to do and we are pushing hard behind the scenes to find everything we can from our current package.”
However, he is looking forward to racing around the historic Monza circuit for the first time in Formula 1 machinery: “My first time racing a Formula 1 car at Monza will be one of the greatest moments of my debut season for sure. Of course, I took part in Free Practice 1 here last year and have competed here in other formulae, so I know just what a special circuit it is to drive. More than that, it is the atmosphere, the fans and all the history attached to Monza that makes it so fantastic.”
Meanwhile team-mate Max Chilton is hoping that the positive momentum from Spa will continue into the Italian Grand Prix weekend: “On a personal level I have been getting closer and closer to where I want to be, particularly in terms of qualifying pace. I want to maintain that momentum in Monza and each of the remaining rounds, now that I have a stronger bank of experience.”
The Brit is similarly excited to race at the Monza circuit, the fastest track on the calendar: “I’m really looking forward to racing a Formula 1 car at Monza; I know from previous formulae that it’s a thrilling race in many respects and a pretty special circuit to drive with its high-speed/low-downforce characteristics. Although it would be nice to repeat our qualifying performance in Spa, I think we understand just how hard we have to work to make the most of our current package, but it’s reassuring to know that our strategic calls are the right ones when the right opportunities do come our way.”
Marussia currently occupy 10th place in the constructor’s standings but has yet to score a single point in its stint in Formula 1 so far. However, Bianchi’s 13th place at the Malaysian Grand Prix has yet to be beaten by rivals Caterham.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic