Car failure brings Max Chilton's debut as a Marussia race driver to a premature end
Briton's first run in brand new MR02 finishes with a spin
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 05/02/13 7:40pm
Max Chilton was left frustrated when his first day as a race driver at Marussia came to a premature end following a spin.
The 21-year-old, who becomes the fourth British driver on the Formula 1 grid this season, was not to blame for the incident, which happened with little over an hour of Tuesday's opening session to run.
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Chilton suffered a failure at the rear of his brand new MR02 on the run to Turn 6 -the fastest part of the 2.75-mile track.
The car became beached in the gravel as a result, meaning an early bath for the former GP2 driver who should, ideally, have been putting the car through its paces by that stage.
Marussia's latest car was launched on Tuesday morning and is the first to feature a Kinetic Energy Recovery System. As such, configuring it was a priority.
"We had a really good, positive start," said Chilton, who ended the day 11th on the timesheets, 5.315s off Jenson Button's pace, after running 29 laps. "The car seemed really strong in the morning, we got stuck into all the procedures - the new KERS takes a lot of setting up and we just got that set up.
"We had a long lunch break and checked the car over and then I was on my first run in the afternoon. I'd done one pushing lap and the car felt good.
"Then on the second lap we had something fail at the rear, just before I hit the brakes on the back straight. It's not ideal for my first day but up until that point everything was going well.
He added: "I think the team have found the problem, they have just got to try and work out a solution."
Chilton may have had limited running and little chance to put the car through its paces but he reckons says his running in the simulator Marussia use augers well.
Asked to gauge the car's potential, he replied: "It's hard to say because this morning we did a lot of laps but we weren't doing handling, we were just getting the KERS running.
"But the slow speed, where we were struggling last year, on the simulator on the 2013 car it's improved. I could notice the improvement, so this afternoon I was trying to see if it was everywhere else - but unfortunately something happened before we could try that."
Chilton is scheduled to run again on Wednesday but could stay in the cockpit for the rest of the week if Marussia do not announce a replacement for the departed Timo Glock.
"I'm in it definitely for today and tomorrow. But obviously with this issue - the other driver not yet being signed - I might be in it for longer," he added.