Race Malaysian GP report: Marussia Ferrari
The Marussia F1 Team experienced a tough challenge on race day in Sepang, with a single result of 15th place providing little reward for a week of hard work and apparent improvement.
Max Chilton experienced a tough challenge in today’s Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, but persevered in his race-long pursuit of Marcus Ericsson. Jules Bianchi’s race was cut short at the start when he was hit from behind by Jean-Eric Vergne. This led to a puncture which left Jules unable to avoid Pastor Maldonado.
“It was a pretty demanding race I have to say. I didn’t get a fantastic start and I knew there was going to be trouble in turn one, which I at least managed to avoid. We had a close battle with Ericsson for much of the race and towards the end we were very close and pushing him all the way to the line, eventually ending up just 0.1s adrift. We are a little disappointed today, but we’ll regroup and focus on what we can do for Bahrain next weekend.”
“Unfortunately the situation with Maldonado was a consequence of what happened off the start, when Vergne hit me from behind and punctured my left rear tyre. Quite simply I could not avoid Maldonado; there was nothing I could do. We came in to change the tyres and to fit a new front wing but when I returned to the track the car was not easy to drive and we suspected a problem with the brakes. We could not continue to drive this way and had no choice but to retire. It was disappointing to end my race after 8 laps and this is not the reward the Team deserves after a week where we seemed to make good progress through the sessions.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“It was a tough start to the race for the Team and the drivers due to the incredibly high temperatures on the grid. The actual starts didn’t work out too well, however both drivers started to try and battle their way back through on the first lap. Unfortunately for Jules, the puncture he got from Vergne caused his incident with Maldonado and he had to return to the pits to change tyres and fit a new front wing. From this point on Jules was not happy with the car and we suspected further damage beyond what was apparent at the stop. Sadly we had no alternative but to retire him due to accident damage, as I’m sure his car would have been just as reliable as Max’s. For Max, he was initially following the two Caterhams. In the second stint he didn’t quite have the pace to stay with Kobayashi but he continued to battle with Ericsson, trading positions between the stops. We were behind him in the last stint and although we were able to push him right up until the final corner, we didn’t quite make it past. Overall a disappointing race from a performance point of view, but the learnings from another complete process of racing the new powertrain will stand us in good stead as we switch focus to Bahrain and try to improve the performance again.”
Claudio Albertini, Head of Customer Teams Power Unit Operations, Scuderia Ferrari
"A bittersweet ending to the weekend in Sepang. From a strictly technical point of view, it was a better weekend than Melbourne, especially with regard to the reliability of the power unit. This enabled the team to not only work with greater continuity but also to exploit more of the potential of its package. The Malaysia Grand Prix is one of the most severe in terms of reliability, mainly due to very high temperatures, which today were even higher than expected. Being able to handle everything in a positive way is a result that should not be underestimated. In addition, it is obvious that the collaboration between the group of technicians and mechanics in Maranello and our colleagues in Banbury is getting stronger at every turn. The positives came from the fact that Max was able to finish the race, while maintaining his personal record (21 races completed out of 21), the disappointment from the episode that led to the early retirement of Jules, who was once again very unlucky. A pity, because with the contribution of the French driver the Team could easily fight on equal terms with our closest rivals. Now we are preparing for a new challenge, in Bahrain, where we have from a known starting point, since we have a lot of data coming from pre-season testing on the Sakhir track. The conditions will be different but the experience gained in these first two Grands Prix will be very helpful."