Having seen his lengthy 100 per cent finishing record come to a shuddering halt in Montreal, Max Chilton is looking to see the chequered flag on F1's long-awaited return to Austria.
Like many of his rivals, the Briton has never raced at the Red Bull Ring prior to this weekend, but says that his first impressions of it from the simulator suggest a challenging layout that will hopefully suit Marussia's MR03.
“I'm really looking forward to my first Austrian Grand Prix and my first experience of Spielberg,” he confirmed, “So far this season, it has been a case of consolidating my experience of tracks I raced at for the first time in my debut season last year, so it's nice to shake it up a bit with an unknown quantity and level the playing field a bit.
“From our simulations, the track looks fun and fast, so I'm sure I will enjoy getting to grips with it. The car is performing well at the moment, so we'll be looking to make the most of that and ensure a positive weekend for the team.”
While neither driver was happy to take the blame for what happened on the opening lap in Canada, Chilton was judged by many to have made the error that left both himself and team-mate Jules Bianchi on the sidelines while an exciting race unfolded on the Ile Notre Dame.
Despite the potential of the Ferrari-powered MR03 not being proven on race day, and engine problems keeping Bianchi in the garage on Friday afternoon, the Scuderia's Mattia Binotto sees a lot of positive similarities between the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Red Bull Ring.
“After the setback in Canada, there is a great desire to make the most of every opportunity at the next event in Austria,” the deputy director of engine and electronics insisted, “Eleven years have passed since the last time this circuit hosted an F1 grand prix, but the main characteristics of the track have remained unchanged and therefore it continues as one of the circuits where the engine runs at maximum rpm for a high percentage of the lap.
“At the time of naturally aspirated engines, the altitude - the circuit is over 600 metres above sea level - made life easier from a reliability point of view, but now, with the use of the turbocharger, this advantage is cancelled and we can expect a similar challenge to that posed by the Montreal circuit.
“The free practice sessions will be important to develop all the settings of the power unit in order to obtain the best performance, with a focus on how to use the MGU-K. We worked a lot on the analysis of the problems we experienced there and believe we have identified the causes and put in place the necessary remedial actions."
With the FIA stewards siding with Bianchi in the debate over whose fault the Montreal accident was, Chilton will start with a three-place grid penalty this weekend.