The Marussia F1 Team continue to impressively hold ninth place in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship despite seeing an impressive qualifying performance from Jules Bianchi in Belgium go to waste after a first lap tangle with the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Team-mate Max Chilton did (eventually) get the better of the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson at Spa-Francorchamps, and both drivers are looking forward to the race at Monza, the home of Ferrari, whose engine powers the Marussia in 2014.
Bianchi has made it through to the second part of qualifying in both of the last two events in Hungary and Belgium, and the Frenchman, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, is looking forward to getting out on track at Monza in front of the home fans of Ferrari.
“Every driver has a few favourite Grand Prix venues, but I consider myself very fortunate to have effectively four home races on the calendar this season – Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Sochi,” said Bianchi. “I am very proud to be a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and I know how special this race is for Scuderia Ferrari. To be able to race in front of the Tifosi is a very exciting and intensely emotional experience and it is nice to know that not just me, but the whole Marussia F1 Team, can feel part of that this weekend in Monza, as the fans will want everything Ferrari to be successful.
“The last race in Spa did not go well for me and it was especially disappointing after a qualifying performance I felt very pleased with. I hope to combine a good qualifying with a good race this time and reward the passion of the Italian fans.”
Team-mate Chilton, who came so close to losing his drive at the team in Belgium before snatching it back from Alexander Rossi after free practice one, is looking to build on his result in Spa that he felt was a good race for him. He hopes the team can continue in its fight to keep ninth place in the championship.
“The Italian Grand Prix is a significant race for the whole Team as not only is this the final European round of the season, but also the home race of our powertrain partners, Scuderia Ferrari,” said Chilton. “I love Monza; it’s impossible not to get caught up in the magic of such a historic racing venue and I always take a trip out to the old banking when I race here. I had a good race in Spa, which enabled the Team to achieve at least part of its objectives for the weekend.
“For the remaining Grands Prix we need to keep fighting for good qualifying and race results, to ensure we maintain our current grasp on 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship. I’m looking forward to the whole Monza experience and, hopefully, a nice reward for the support I’m sure we will receive from the Tifosi.”
Team Principal John Booth knows this year’s Italian Grand Prix will be more important for Marussia than in the past because of the team’s partnership with Ferrari. He is hoping for some good fortune at Monza so to be able to maintain their ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Sauber and Caterham.
“It is always very exciting to return to Monza, but this year the event has a greater significance in that it is the home race of our powertrain partner, Scuderia Ferrari,” said Booth. “In the past we have only imagined how it must feel for Ferrari to race in front of the Tifosi, so it is encouraging to know that, this time around, many of the ‘sea of red’ will also be rooting for Marussia.
“It will be a special weekend for us, even before we take into account achieving our on-track objectives. The races are coming thick and fast now in this second half of the season and it is vital that we maintain our current focus and ensure we maximise every round. Last time out in Spa, Max enjoyed a strong race, whereas a fantastic qualifying effort by Jules went unrewarded on race day, after he was struck from behind on the opening lap and then a gearbox problem forced him to retire.
“This weekend, we’re hoping for better fortunes for the Team, to add even greater momentum to our own 9th place Championship challenge and to contribute to a successful event all round for the Scuderia on home turf.”