It was a busy day at the far end of the pit lane for Marussia who, faced with some balance problems in the final practice session in China this morning, had to implement some quick fixes in time for qualifying this afternoon.
The problems were most pronounced for Timo Glock, who did not have the best of days in Shanghai today, but was starting to look in better form for qualifying, where he finished in P21.
“A very difficult Saturday for me today,” said the German. “The car was quite a lot better yesterday when I had a very good feeling with it. For some reason, this morning I picked up massive oversteer and we struggled with the balance.
“We couldn't get rid of the oversteer in FP3 so we had to make some changes for qualifying and I lost a bit of confidence in the car. I had to get used to the car again – and during qualifying – but at least we made the right improvements.
“It wasn't perfect; we perhaps had a bit too much fuel in the car. I have to be happy though that the balance is back again but I was still not able to push with it like yesterday, so we have to look at why. Yes, the track temperature has increased so this will be a big factor, but we have to properly understand the problem for the future so we can continue to develop well and find a good solution.”
Team-mate Charles Pic was unable to beat Glock in qualifying today, but is still pretty positive about the direction in which the team are moving as the season progresses. “I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't able to put my best sectors together today, but I think we can be happy with the progress we have made with the car this weekend,” said the French rookie.
“The developments that we brought here have proved to be very good with the expected results and we can see this for sure in the gap to Caterham, which has closed again since Malaysia. We have to keep moving in this direction now and from Spain I think we can be quite a lot stronger again. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Marussia team principal John Booth put a more positive spin on the day’s events than his drivers. “Today has been relentless as we have fought hard to recover the positive form which we saw in FP2 yesterday,” he said.
“As appears to have been the case with a lot of drivers throughout the field during FP3, we also suffered a large shift in balance overnight with the increased track temperatures we have experienced today. Whilst this didn't seem to be as severe on Charles' car, it was certainly a worrying factor for Timo.
“All credit to Timo and his crew for working through these issues in FP3, and particularly in the break between sessions, to allow him to come back with a better balanced car in qualifying. Charles continues to impress us at this early stage in his F1 career. His best sector times from today strung together would have significantly reduced his deficit to Timo and this will be his focus going into the race tomorrow.
“I think we're all looking forward to what should be a straightforward day tomorrow – without the threat of rain – which will allow us to evaluate our progress further.”