After a better-than-expected start to the 2012 F1 campaign, the Marussia team is hoping to pick up where it left off when the Chinese Grand Prix
gets underway next weekend.
While not quite sporting a 100 per cent finishing record, the team's reliability rate has been impressive considering that it only gave its new car a maiden run-out after pre-season testing had concluded, and both Timo Glock
and Charles Pic
have been positive in their feedback.
Now, after a three-week break, the pair will hope to continue building on the strong start to the year as the action shifts to another back-to-back race pairing in China and Bahrain.
"After such a busy - but positive - start to the season, it has been good to have some time to take stock and gather ourselves, ready for the challenge of the next important phase," team principal John Booth admitted, before revealing that the cars will both receive upgrades for China.
"Our objective now is to maintain the momentum, so it has been full steam ahead in terms of our development programme. The starting point for that was the significant amount of data we had been able to gather in Melbourne and Sepang and, while the race team have had the chance for some rest during the break, it has been quite the opposite for the technical team back in Banbury, who have been evaluating our findings and feeding them back into the cycle, including the continuation of our wind tunnel programme.
"We have some aerodynamic and systems refinements for the MR01 in China, ahead of a more substantial upgrade for the start of the European season next month."
That news will come as a boost for veteran Glock, who rates the Shanghai International Circuit
as one of his favourites.
"Shanghai is a really special circuit, and I like this race so I'm looking forward to seeing where we stand next weekend," the German notee, "It's difficult to make predictions for this race because I've known it to be pretty cold and sometimes very wet, so you never quite know what is going to happen and so much depends on the weather here."
China will be yet another new challenge for 2012 rookie Pic as he prepares to race on his third consecutive unknown circuit before Bahrain and the European season take him into territory more familiar from his GP2 career.
"I'm quite happy with the way I got up to speed with the first two circuits, despite never having raced there before, and it has been good to look back at my data from Australia and Malaysia and see where we can continue to improve," the Frenchman said.
"The weather makes the acclimatisation a little more difficult but, in the dry, it doesn't take very long to find a good rhythm. I've prepared in the simulator as much as I can during the break, and also spent some time in the factory working with the team, so my relationship with the engineers is developing very well. The Shanghai circuit is quite challenging and I'm really looking forward to driving it properly for the first time.
"Everyone in the team is pushing really hard to keep moving in a positive direction, so I hope we can show more of the car's potential next weekend."