Jules Bianchi has ended his winter testing programme on a positive note behind the wheel Marussia’s Ferrari-powered MR03 machine, completing a total of 78 laps which included a race simulation run later in the day. The Anglo-Russian outfit enjoyed a promising day of untroubled running, and will be hoping for much of the same for the final day of testing when Max Chilton assumes driving duties once again.
The Banbury-based outfit began their penultimate day of track action with several long race simulations, along with many other teams up and down the paddock who are all looking ahead to the season opener in Australia. During the afternoon period the team’s aim switched to low-fuel qualifying simulations, which enabled Jules Bianchi to get a taste of the MR03 on softer tyres in preparation for the opening qualifying session of the season in several weeks at Melbourne’s Albert Park Street Circuit. Overall Jules Bianchi feels the team has a good baseline understanding of the car, and believes that the team is well prepared and continually gaining experience.
“It is quite exciting to end today in a positive way and to know that the next time I drive the car will be on Friday in Melbourne at the first Grand Prix of the season,” enthused Jules Bianchi. “We have achieved a good baseline understanding of the car now and I have a really good feeling for it. Of course we had hoped for even more mileage today, but we are happy with what we achieved and the work we have done is very important. At the end of the day I got my first experience of the car in lower fuel on the soft and super-soft tyres, getting closer to qualifying specification. I was encouraged by the performance of the car, even at this early stage when we know there is more to come. We will see how things go for the team tomorrow but I feel that we are well-prepared and gaining confidence with our package.”
The Anglo-Russian outfit will be eager to utilise their Ferrari-power to remain ahead of rivals Caterham when the new season gets underway at Melbourne, with both outfits still striving to secure their maiden points in the sport. With the new technical regulations expected to provide the Australian Grand Prix with an unusually high rate of attrition, the opportunity to finish within the points could well be on offer for simply finishing the race. Max Chilton will bring Marussia’s winter testing programme to a conclusion on Sunday, and will understandably be hoping for continued productivity.
Picture Copyright © Marussia F1 Team