Regardless of the outcome, Jules Bianchi says racing around the classic Suzuka circuit will be one of the highlights of his debut season. The Frenchman can’t wait to tackle the track for the first time in his racing career, although rain could make the weekend slightly trickier.
Marussia are one of the teams that have lost performance with Pirelli’s tyre compound changes and with a lack of development as the season comes to a close, they have dropped back behind Caterham. However they have managed to cling on to 10th in the constructor’s thanks to Bianchi’s stunning early form.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s race he said: “I am very much looking forward to my first experience of racing here at Suzuka. It is a track that is associated with some of the greatest moments in Formula 1 history and racing here will be one of the highlights of my debut season, regardless of the outcome. It is also a real test of car and driver with some fantastic corners, which I have only ever been able to sample on the simulator until now.”
He added: “I think that rain is possible early in the weekend, which should make life interesting – much like some of the big moments I saw here when I was growing up – but I think it may be dry later on, which will enable us to keep pushing for our season objective. I love Japan and have spent the past few days training and relaxing in Tokyo, which has been good fun. I can’t wait to be driving in front of the incredible fans here on Sunday.”
Team-mate Max Chilton has been inspired by some of Suzuka’s greatest moments and is also eager to get out on track for the first time: “It’s great to be back in Japan and to finally get the opportunity to race at the Suzuka Circuit. I came straight here from Korea so I would have the opportunity to explore a little more because there are so many fantastic things to experience here.”
The Brit continued, saying: “This will be another new challenge and one that I have been looking forward to because it is such a technical circuit and because of all the history attached to it. I have been inspired by some of the great battles I have watched here over the years. The fans are also pretty special, both in and out of the circuit. Seeing them camped outside the drivers’ hotel is quite something, never mind the reception we get when we’re out on track. I hope we can race to a strong two-car finish again – and hopefully with less attrition up ahead.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic