Marussia pilot Max Chilton reflects on day one in Abu Dhabi, discusses his season as a whole and reiterates he is 'pretty close' to signing a deal to remain with the Banbury-based outfit for the 2014 F1 season...

Crash.net
Max, how was Friday practice?

Max Chilton:
Today was very short. I missed FP1 to let Rodolfo [Gonzalez, Marussia's reserve driver] into the car. It wasn't a big problem because I know this circuit probably better than any other circuit this year. We started this afternoon and it's one of the most important sessions [of the weekend]. FP1 is in the middle of the day and whatever may happen to the car in that session we kind of put into the bin because it's not at the same time as qualifying or race. So today was important and I did one pushing lap and I had a brake duct go so I lost 30 or 40 minutes fixing that. After that we did one option run which was OK and then we were straight into the race runs. I struggled a lot with balance, I had oversteer, but I'm sure there's a quick fix for it. I can see where the time is so I'm not panicking but there's work to do tomorrow.

Crash.net:
Is it in the fast corners or the slow corners where you are having the oversteer?

Max Chilton:
The high speed corners are actually quite good even though that's where we sometimes struggle. It's just in the slow speed corners where we're locking and the traction is quite challenging compared to the cars around us.

Crash.net:
Is any of that related to not running in the morning?

Max Chilton:
No, Jules [Bianchi] is also struggling with traction. It's just our car and it's something that we've always struggled with. Here there are a lot of 90 degree corners, off camber and then onto the power. There are lots of big 'on power' moments so when you're doing a long race run we seem to be struggling a little bit.

Crash.net:
How do you view your season? How have you progressed?

Max Chilton:
I'm very happy with it. At the moment I'm the only driver to have finished every race and I'd like to keep that going because I think it's something that's good to have in your rookie season. At the start of the year there were good points but also I was learning and there are bits that I wish I could have back and do them again. That's all part of a rookie season.

Crash.net:
What moments would you like to take back?

Max Chilton:
I couldn't pick one thing, it's just the general knowledge you gain over a year. It's like when you finish a championship you wish that you could go back and do it again. Luckily the F1 championship is so long that I feel like the second half of the year is a second championship. I worked on things over the summer break and I've been a lot better pace wise since. I've managed to out-qualify and out-race Jules and even in India where I had a shocking qualifying I outraced him with a better strategy. It's now a lot closer between us and that's good for the team because now we can take it to the Caterhams.

Crash.net:
What are your plans for next year?

Max Chilton:
We're in talks and we're working on it and would like to get it done soon.

Crash.net:
Is that with Marussia or is there any other team you're talking to?

Max Chilton:
Yeah, we're trying to get it done here. We were pretty close and now we're just trying to get the last bit of the contract done.

Crash.net:
For next year obviously you'll be looking to take the lessons of this year and build on them. What are your targets for next year?

Max Chilton:
I don't know the targets yet but I just want to show my potential. I've a lot more to show, and I know that everyone says that after their first year, but I've proven that my pace has improved throughout the year. It's gotten a lot better towards the end of the year and I think that you've got to see where someone starts to plateau and I haven't started to plateau yet so I'd like another year.

Crash.net:
Do you think that is similar to what happened to you when you stepped up to GP2 where it took you until year two and three to really show your speed?

Max Chilton:
Yeah and it was the same in British F3. I've learned with continuity, especially in GP2 with Carlin. My first year with Carlin we were quick but we didn't have everything there. The second year it just clicked and I think that's the same with Marussia so I'd really love a second year.

by Stephen English at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi

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