26 March 2014
Bianchi hoping for straightforward F1 weekend in Malaysia
Encouraged by Marussia F1's Melbourne showing, Jules Bianchi is hoping for better fortune in Malaysia this weekend.
Jules Bianchi insists that there were encouraging signs for the Marussia team at the F1 season-opener in Australia, but hopes for a more trouble-free weekend as the campaign continues in Malaysia.
Both the Frenchman and team-mate Max Chilton were forced to start from the Melbourne pit-lane after stalling on the grid ahead of the formation lap and actual start respectively, but went on to see the chequered flag as rivals fell by the wayside around them.
Despite losing six laps while a battery problem was resolved, Bianchi was able to run competitively with both Chilton and the remaining Caterham of rookie Marcus Ericsson, and he believes that Marussia can be optimistic ahead of the annual trip to Sepang, despite the Kuala Lumpur venue providing one of the sternest tests of the season.
“There were some good signs for us in Melbourne, but also a few challenges which got in the way of our progress, which was obviously quite frustrating,” he reflected, “Overall, it has been really good to have the maximum information to look at with the engineers, and what we have learned from that will be really helpful for us.
“I'm looking forward to getting back in the car and hoping for a more straightforward weekend in Malaysia - and one where we can really push the car a little more to explore its potential. Having said that, this is by no means an easy race, and a very different challenge to Melbourne. Sepang is hard on the Team and the drivers, and also the car, with tougher circuit characteristics and, of course, the heat and humidity. So it is a difficult environment in which to push everything harder, but that is what we must do to bring home a good result.”
Team principal John Booth agrees that the opening round had been a step in the right direction for the Banbury squad – which continues to be at the centre of takeover rumours following claims in the Italian media that Stefan GP was viewing a buy-out as a means of furthering its own F1 ambitions – and is hopeful that Malaysia can provide the same sort of result as Bianchi's 13th place from 2013 which cemented a valuable top ten finish in the constructors' standings.
“On reflection, our race outcome in Australia was quite positive when we take into account the challenges of the winter, the issues we encountered at the start and the anticipated problems that afflicted the wider field,” Booth pointed out, “We completed two race distances in the opening round and the data that has yielded could not have provided us with a better baseline for our development programme.
“We have spent quite a bit of time since Melbourne analysing that information carefully to enable us to have a more straightforward and successful weekend in Malaysia. Sepang always throws up its own unique challenges, thanks to the combination of fierce heat and a well-timed downpour, but we hope for another positive showing and for two cars to see the chequered flag once again.”
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