The Banbury-based outfit had a difficult pre-season after missing the opening two days of winter testing. The Ferrari-powered MR03 failed to complete many laps in Jerez but the final two tests in Bahrain were more productive and the team was able to see a little more of its true potential.
Looking ahead to the season opener in Australia, Bianchi said: “I am very excited to be starting the new season finally. It has been a very interesting winter preparing for this and I can’t wait to see where we stand versus the competition. The car feels good to drive and, especially in Bahrain last week, we saw a little more of its true potential. There is a lot of work still to do to start getting the most from it, but I feel quite optimistic about our chances to improve this year.
“It has not been easy for a small team like ours as we do not have the same resources as the bigger teams, but I think we can be proud of the job that we have done in comparison and now I am looking forward to delivering some reward for that hard work. Our first objective for Melbourne is to enjoy a reliable race but I hope we can create some opportunity for ourselves along the way.”
Team-mate Max Chilton says it is unlikely that he will finish all 19 races this year, like he did in 2013, but believes it will be a good season for the team. “There have been some very positive signs in testing, which lead us to believe that we can have a good season,” said the Brit. “Until we get though the first race it’s difficult to expand on that, but the performance is there and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
“Of course, it would be great if we could match last year’s fantastic reliability record, but that is likely to be a much bigger task this season. Personally, I’m ready to get my teeth into the races. I’m entering my second season so I have my own goals as a driver, but what matters most is working together as a team to rise to the challenge as this will be a tough but exciting year.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic