The significant technical changes from 2013 to 2014 - not least the move to V6 turbo power - has presented a significant challenge for a young team like Marussia, but according to team principal John Booth it’s one that they have embraced.
“As we saw in the step from 2012 to 2013, we have young but experienced and extremely talented technical and engineering groups within the Marussia F1 Team, who have contributed enormously to our rate of progression over the past couple of years,” he said.
“To have designed a car that is true to the concept first conceived in early 2012, despite the integration of an entirely new powertrain and whilst pushing hard to attain our 2013 constructors’ championship objective, is a testament to the extent to which we have matured as a technical organisation.”
The extent of evolution between Marussia’s 2013 and 2014 cars is highlighted by the fact that, of the 11,212 components that made up the MR02, only a handful of assemblies have been carried over to the MR03. The result, according to chief designer John McQuilliam, is the team’s “best-ever optimisation of performance versus innovation versus design integrity.”
“The car has been manufactured and finished to a very high standard, whilst achieving our most significant weight-saving targets to date and, importantly, with a crucial eye towards maintaining our excellent record of reliability,” said McQuilliam.
“Without doubt, the greatest design challenge has been in terms of cooling, yet this is one of a few areas where we are not only very pleased with the design response, but also the degree of innovation we have achieved with our solution.
“All-new front and rear suspension layouts are a product of the new aerodynamic regulations placing greater emphasis on mechanical performance, with the mechanical systems now having far greater real road relevance.”
Marussia’s new technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari sees the Anglo-Russian team benefiting from a full Ferrari powertrain. As a Scuderia Ferrari customer, they are supplied with the Italian squad’s new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engine, their Energy Recovery System (ERS), full transmission and all related ancillary systems.
“We have nothing but good things to say about our new relationship with Scuderia Ferrari,” said Booth. “They are extremely professional and have been entirely supportive from the beginning. There is excellent co-operation between our two technical groups in all areas of the new relationship and this has made the considerable challenge of integrating a new powertrain a great deal easier.”
Marussia, who finished tenth in the 2013 constructors’ championship, will field an unchanged driver line-up this season, having retained both Frenchman Jules Bianchi and Briton Max Chilton after their promising rookie campaigns with the team.
“Retaining Jules and Max is one extremely valuable ‘known-quantity’ at the start of a season that is full of unknowns,” said chief engineer Dave Greenwood. “At the same time as making life far simpler from a design and development point of view, from a performance perspective we have two young, highly-motivated and extremely talented drivers who we know are capable of driving our team forward.”
As for the team’s 2014 goals, Booth concluded: “The target is to keep moving forward and that means being in a position where we no longer have to focus on the threat from behind and, instead, take the fight to the teams ahead. It is very early days to be speculating about relative performance though and that is something we can perhaps only speak with confidence about in Australia in 45 days’ time.”