Like its rivals, the Marussia F1 team brought a raft of development parts to the Spanish Grand Prix, but admitted that the wet start to Friday practice had hampered attempts to evaluate how much of a step forward they would provide.
While Max Chilton sat out the largely wet FP1 session in favour of 'development driver' Rodolfo Gonzalez, the weight of evaluating the changes fell on Jules Bianchi, but the Frenchman found himself out-paced by both Caterhams, as the Leafield team took a step forward with its CT-03 after running an interim car during the opening four 'flyaway' grands prix.
Able to compare the car to the one he made his Marussia debut in during the final pre-season test, Bianchi reported that the upgrade – which comprised a new front wing, new floor and new front suspension parts – appeared to be a step forward.
“It's good to be back at Barcelona - it feels like only yesterday when I made my debut in testing here, but so much has happened since then and I have learned a lot,” the Frenchman noted.
“The car feels quite different to when I last drove here and the improvements we have made are clear to see, which is good. The developments we have brought here seem to be working well so far. Extracting the most from the new components will take a little more time but, once again, we seem to have followed a good path and I hope we can be where we want to be this weekend.”
Team principal John Booth confirmed, however, that the full extent of the upgrade would not be known until later in the weekend.
“We have brought a fairly significant package to this race and so it was perhaps a little frustrating to be met with wet conditions this morning, as we were unable to get straight down to the business of evaluating those parts in the way we would have hoped,” he noted, “Nonetheless, as the day has progressed, we have been able to start the process of understanding what the new components bring us - and the early signs are promising.”