|© AP Photo/Vincent Thian
It's not often that drivers hope for rain during a Formula 1 race.
For the five struggling newcomers this season, however, wet weather in Belgium on Sunday could be seen as an advantage.
Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi, Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas have yet to score a point in their first year on the circuit.
Rain is forecast for Sunday and that, coupled with the unpredictable nature of the 7.004-kilometre (4.352-mile) track at Spa, could help those at the back of the grid.
"Obviously when it's raining I think it's better for us because it's like kind of crazy races so we have more chance to finish in the front," said Bianchi, who drives for the Marussia team. "I would like to have some rain on Sunday."
Van der Garde, who has been blighted by mechanical failures for Caterham this season, also prefers damp conditions.
"I think our car performs quite well in the rain and with that, a lot of things can happen in the race," the Dutchman said. "I think it would be nice for us to have a little rain, a little luck here and there."
Van der Garde crashed out of Friday's second practice session when he lost control coming out of a turn and slid sideways across the track and into the crash barriers. He climbed out unharmed but there was damage to the right of his car.
Of the five newcomers, Gutierrez (Sauber) and Bottas (Williams) have been closest to winning a point with 11th-place finishes. Bianchi's best is 13th, followed by Chilton (Marussia) and Van der Garde (14th).
"I've been working really hard. Of course, it's ... not easy to come in," Van der Garde said. "I think Jules was a little bit better than me at the beginning."
But after ten races two years ago, newcomer Sergio Perez -- now with McLaren -- had already placed in the points twice with ninth at the Spanish GP and seventh at the British GP. Last year, Jean-Eric Vergne registered his first points in only the second race, with a credible eighth-place finish at the Malaysian GP -- a finish he repeated three more times that campaign.
Bianchi's 13th at the Malaysian GP -- the second race on the calendar -- gave Marussia the second-highest finish in its history.
"The first part of the season has been really good for me and the team. The second part a bit more difficult," Bianchi said. "Now we're going into the last part and I feel confident."
Marussia is eager to keep Bianchi next season, but the 24-year-old Frenchman, who has been linked with a move to Ferrari, is keeping his options open.
"I think the right move is first of all to think about this year, finish the season and let my manager and Ferrari see what we can do," Bianchi said. "They will decide and they will (make) a good call."