17 March 2014
Australian Grand Prix: Bianchi frustrated by suspected battery issue
Jules Bianchi may have lost six laps of the 2014 Australian GP, but remains optimistic that Marussia can bounce back at Sepang.
Jules Bianchi was unable to demonstrate his true potential in the Australian Grand Prix after being stranded on the grid and forced into a lengthy wait before rejoining the race.
Having already seen team-mate Max Chilton forced off the grid at the start of the formation lap, Marussia's frustration was complete when Bianchi was left behind at what should have been the start of the race. While the rest of the grid completed another formation lap, the Frenchman was pushed into the pits, but his drama wasn't over, as the MR03 refused to fire at the end of the pit-lane and had to be pushed back to the Marussia garage for further attention.
“We are not really sure [what the problem was] at the moment,” he confessed to Crash.net, “We think it was the battery - we were too low on battery, on the charge - but it's a bit of an unknown situation, so we'll have to wait and see what [the technicians] say.
“It's a shame as we lost six laps. We had to go from the grid to pit-lane, [but when we] tried to switch on the engine, we couldn't because the battery was too low, so we had to go back to the pit box, stay there and charge the battery.”
With the stricken Marussias off the grid, the race got underway at the second time of asking, but it wasn't a comfortable experience for Bianchi as he waited for his car to be repaired.
“It's very frustrating, especially when you are in the car and can see the race going on,” he noted, “And it's not like it's over - you can still go back on track, but you will be last by five or six laps. It's a very difficult situation.”
Despite his delayed entrance to the fray, Bianchi underlined Marussia's reliability by following Chilton across the line, claiming 15th position in the process and giving himself a boost before heading to Malaysia for round two of the season.
“The positive thing is that the pace was good compared to my team-mate and we could finish the race,” he confirmed, “I think the experience we had in this race, in this full race, is really important for us for the rest of the season and, even if we lost those six laps, it was good to go back on track and finish the race. We know where we are going.”
Asked what he expected from Sepang, the circuit that saw him finish 13th overall a year ago and subsequently claim the coveted tenth place in the constructors' standings, Bianchi remained optimistic.
“The target will be to finish the race without any issue, or not the same ones at least,” he claimed, “In terms of result, I don't really know what to expect but, for sure, we can do something good there.”
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