Jules Bianchi endured a torrid race weekend at Suzuka, which culminated with the French rookie being involved in a heavy first corner incident with the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde. Earlier in the weekend the F1 rookie crashed heavily at Turn 9, and also incurred a ten-place grid penalty from Korea after picking up his third reprimand.
As the season draws to a conclusion, the battle towards the rear of the field remains wide open between Marussia and Caterham. With both outfits yet to score a single point this season, their positions in the Constructors’ Championship are determined by their highest finish throughout the season. Luckily for the Marussia this greatly benefits them, as they currently remain ahead of Caterham due to Jules Bianchi’s 13th place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix at the start of the season.
However, such successes failed to find the young Frenchman during his first Formula 1 race weekend around the legendary Suzuka circuit. After picking up his third reprimand of the season during the Korean Grand Prix last time out for failing to slow for yellow flags, Jules Bianchi entered the Japanese Grand Prix on the back foot with a ten-place grid penalty. The Frenchman’s weekend started miserably with a heavy incident at Turn 9 during the opening practice session. Due to the severity of the incident, Bianchi was forced to miss out on the second practice session after damage to his chassis.
After a frustrating qualifying session for Jules Bianchi, which saw him vastly out-qualified by team-mate Max Chilton for only the second time this season, Bianchi felt relatively confident heading into the race despite his troubled preparations throughout the weekend. However, any hopes he had of redeeming himself during the 53-lap race were instantly dashed when he collided with the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde at Turn 1 at the start. The forced both drivers into an early retirement, and brought Bianchi’s disappointing weekend to a conclusion.
“All in all I think this is a weekend that was destined not to come my way, which is a shame as I love the Suzuka Circuit.” Explained Jules Bianchi, “We did our best to fight back and I was very confident in the way we would approach the race. Unfortunately, as I turned into the first corner on the opening lap, van der Garde hit my rear wing which pushed me off track and into the gravel. Nothing more to say really, except my thanks to the Team for a lot of hard work this weekend. We’ll be back to do better in India I hope because there are good signs for the car performance.”
With only four races left in the season, Marussia will certainly be aiming to remain ahead of Caterham in the Constructors’ Championship. For the Leafield-based outfit to realistically have a chance of thwarting their Anglo-Russian rivals, a topsy-turvy race would have to occur. For Jules Bianchi and Marussia, bringing both drivers to the finish line in India will the target, preferably ahead of both Caterhams.
Picture Copyright © Marussia F1 Team