The first of the free practice sessions for this weekend’s Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2013 got underway at the Nurburgring today, with the Marussia F1 Team fielding three drivers across the two sessions.
Alongside Max Chilton for the morning was Reserve Driver Rodolfo Gonzalez, taking part in one of several scheduled FP1 sessions during the season. This was his third outing and his most significant mileage so far. He worked on an aerodynamic and suspension development programme, completing 21 laps and posting a fastest lap time of 1:37.459. Max ended the morning in 19th position after focusing on the aero programme.
This afternoon, Jules Bianchi was back at the wheel of chassis MR02-02. He is recovering from a mild stomach upset and after two runs and 10 laps it was clear that he was not yet back to full strength. The Team decided to curtail his session to allow him to rest in order to be fully fit for tomorrow. Max continued with a programme of long run tyre work to prepare for Sunday's race.
Jules Bianchi: "Today was a very short day for me, which is unfortunate. It was already scheduled some time ago that Rodolfo would drive in FP1 and as things turned out that enabled me to rest and hopefully feel better. This afternoon I completed two runs in FP2 - 10 laps in total - but I was not feeling my best, so it was better to stop and properly recuperate. I hope after a good night's sleep I will be back on form tomorrow."
Max Chilton: "The timesheets don't paint the full picture in a day where I've actually been reasonably comfortable with the car. This morning I was pleased to split the Caterhams and this afternoon we focused more on long run pace in preparation for Sunday. Tomorrow in qualifying we will have a better idea of our outright pace here versus the competition, but for now I am pleased with the general direction."
Rodolfo Gonzalez: "I am pleased to have had a good FP1 this morning and achieve 21 laps. It took some time to get up to speed but I have to be realistic because until today I had only completed six laps. I think the Young Driver Test will be my best opportunity to play catch-up and then hit the ground running a little more from Hungary. For now though, the Team have been very supportive and gave me lots of suspension and aero work, and the priority was to complete this and not focus so much on lap time. I am happy to have provided some useful information which should help us for the rest of the weekend."
John Booth, Team Principal: "We've had a slightly unusual Friday with Rodolfo in the car this morning as part of his programme of FP1 sessions and the expected transition back to Jules this afternoon being rather short-lived. Rodolfo worked through a programme of aero and set-up evaluations and did a very solid job considering his running was very stilted from lap to lap. This afternoon Jules took over his car again but he was only able to complete 10 laps. He is recovering from a mild stomach bug and gave FP2 his best shot, but it was quite clear that he was not up to full strength and it was best to let him rest a little more. We hope to see him back on form tomorrow. On a positive note, Max has worked very methodically through the day to provide the baseline data we need to progress during the rest of the weekend. He has done a good job and seems comfortable with the car here."
Check out our Friday gallery, here.