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Must try harder? Marussia’s mid-season report 15 Aug 2012

Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01 and Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2012

Of the grid’s three fledgling teams, Marussia have arguably had the toughest time. While HRT have become the endearing underdogs, and Caterham the most likely future stars, Marussia seem trapped in a hinterland of expectation between the two. But despite finishing last in the standings the past two years, tangible progress has been made since their 2010 debut and although it has been an uphill struggle, development has picked up pace recently as the team seek the boost they need to stay on target and move up the table…

Season in numbers
Constructors’ standings:
11th, 0 points
Drivers’ standings: Timo Glock (21st, 0 points), Charles Pic (22nd, 0 points)
Highest 2012 qualifying: 20th (Timo Glock, Monaco)
Highest 2012 finish: 14th (Timo Glock, Australia and Monaco)

Car
Back in March the team’s hopes were dented when the all-new MR01 (their first car designed with wind tunnel assistance - and since their McLaren link-up) failed a mandatory crash test. On the back foot, they had to briefly return to the drawing board and missed pre-season testing. Starting their 2012 campaign with just filming mileage under their belts was a significant setback. They’ve been recovering ever since, though, and recent upgrades have started to pay dividends. Some believe Marussia are even starting to eat into Caterham’s advantage, despite the fact that theirs is the only car other than HRT’s F112 not to run KERS.

Team
The departure of CFD champion Nick Wirth from the Banbury-based team heralded a brand-new era and with technical consultant (and former Renault stalwart) Pat Symonds jumping on board to help team principal John Booth, it’s not one lacking in experience. Just like HRT though, the sheer number of personnel changes could hinder before they help. Maybe that’s why it has taken until the middle of the season to see real signs of promise.

Drivers
It’s testament to Glock’s faith in Marussia that he stuck with them for a third year. It’s certainly been a challenge and on top of that, this season he has found his rookie team mate Pic far less of a pushover than previous partners Jerome d’Ambrosio and Lucas di Grassi. Both drivers are working hard towards the cause and highlights have included Glock’s 14th places in Melbourne and Monte Carlo, and Pic’s 15th in Valencia and his stellar performance in Hungary. The best reward for both their efforts would be a more competitive car.

What they say: “We have slowly but surely been eating into the gap to Caterham, pulled further away from HRT behind and reduced the margin to the front-running teams.” John Booth, Marussia team principal

What we say: HRT’s fraught start to 2012 may have helped save Marussia’s blushes, but the signs of improvement are strengthening. Time to knuckle down.

For more pictures, check out Marussia's 2012 team gallery.

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