Tag Archives: Marussia

Jules Bianchi to stay at Marussia for 2014 season

Jules Bianchi will continue to drive for the Marussia team in the 2014 season, the team confirmed today.

The Frenchman was tipped to be in contention for a Force India or Sauber drive, but has instead opted to stay put. He is only the second Marussia/Virgin driver not to be dropped in their first year since the team was formed in 2010.

He remains part of the Ferrari development programme, and seeing as Marussia will switch to Ferrari engines next year, Bianchi staying on board seemed to be a done deal.

Jules today praised the team, and stated he was hopeful for improvements into 2014:

"I couldn’t have wished for a more supportive environment in which to make my F1 
debut and from the very beginning I have always felt completely at home with the team.

We started the season very well and while the challenge has increased as the season 
has developed, we have learned important lessons together that will place us in a 
much stronger position next year when there are a lot of changes for the sport and 
the team to get used to."

 

Bianchi ousts Razia at Marussia for 2013

In a surprise move, it has been announced that Luiz Razia has already been dropped by the Marussia team for the 2013 season, despite not having even turned a wheel in the new car.

It appears as if one of Razia’s sponsors failed to come through on a payment to the Marussia team, and after over a week of hushed rumours around the paddock, Luiz has been ousted before the season has even begun. The young Brazilian had completed 23 days on his contract before today.

He has been replaced by Jules Bianchi, who only yesterday had lost out to Adrian Sutil on the Force India second driver seat. Bianchi comes with Ferrari backing, meaning that Marussia are in a good position to receive Ferrari engines for the 2014 season, if Cosworth do not renew their contract.

Despite the shock move, Razia was adamant that he deserved his spot in the team, and valiantly vowed to fight his way back into F1:

"I'm in a kind of shock, because you expect to be in F1, you are there, announced, 
testing, and then you are out - and not because of a driver fault. I did everything 
right in what I could do, but it was really just a circumstantial thing that happened, 
and that was it.

But I still am here. My career is still shining and I can overcome this difficult 
situation. It is just something that has happened to me. Sometimes life does this 
to you.

My main goal is to be in F1, so all my effort is there. I am now without any grounds, 
but I will go with my family, and we will be sad for a while, but I will get back to 
the category."

 

Luiz Razia confirmed as Max Chilton’s teammate at Marussia

Marussia will have an all-rookie line-up this season, with Luiz Razia confirmed as the team’s second driver.

He joins Max Chilton, who won two races in GP2 last season, and the duo have replaced Charles Pic and Timo Glock within the squad.

Razia has previously won the 2006 South American Formula 3 championship, and finished 2nd in the 2012 GP2 series with 4 race wins. In 2011 he drove for both Force India and Toro Rosso in the young driver tests, and tested in free practice sessions for the Caterham team.

The last team to run an all-rookie line-up was the 2010 HRT team, whose drivers didn’t all make it to the end of the season.

Marussia MR02 launched on first test day in Jerez

On the morning of the first test session of the 2013 season, Marussia have finally revealed their MR02 car.

For the Marussia team, the MR02 represents some large steps forward. This is the first of their cars (including the Virgin team) to be designed in a wind tunnel, and not just using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). It is also the first of their cars to feature a KERS system.

One interesting addition to the MR02 is a Coanda exhaust system, which was utilised by the frontrunning teams last year. It is unclear whether this innovation or the DDRS system will be the focus of more development in 2013.

On a worrying note, there appears to be a shortage of sponsors on the main body of the MR02 – at least for the moment.

Jerome D’Ambrosio confirmed as Grosjean’s replacement for Monza

Jerome D'Ambrosio will get another shot at Formula 1

Jerome D’Ambrosio will get another shot at Formula 1

Jerome D’Ambrosio will take the place of Romain Grosjean for the Lotus team for the Italian Grand Prix.

Romain was banned for one race by the stewards, after causing a serious crash in Spa, which eliminated several frontrunning cars. The Frenchman turned in on Lewis Hamilton, who collided with the Lotus, and speared into Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado.

D’Ambrosio is Lotus’ test and reserve driver this year, having been sacked from the Virgin/Marussia team last year.

Marussia driver Maria de Villota seriously injured in testing crash

Maria De Villota was taking part in her first F1 test

Maria De Villota was taking part in her first F1 test

Marussia’s test driver Maria de Villota has been seriously injured, possibly sustaining “life-threatening injuries” in a testing crash in Duxford today.

The 32-year-old female driver was entering the pit section after her first run, when her MR-01 suddenly accelerated into the back of an articulated lorry, at around 20-30mph.

The lorry had a loading board extended at the time, and it is believed that De Villota’s helmet collided with it first, as the rest of the car would have gone underneath the lorry.

While it is still unclear how this sudden acceleration occurred, it is possible that she was caught out by the car’s anti-stall system, which can throw a car forward if the driver is not careful. The only other F1 car De Villota has driven – a Renault R29 – did not have an anti-stall feature installed.

BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann described the crash:

"She got into the car, fired it up and did a test run at probably about 200mph in 
the rain.

The car was slightly misfiring but there didn't seem to be any concerns.

She came back into the area we were in with the engineers. She slowed down but then 
suddenly, inexplicably accelerated through the crowd and smashed into the side of 
the truck.

The top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it. She didn't move 
for about 15 minutes. Fire crews were there within seconds and the ambulance within
minutes.

After a while we thought we saw some movement of her hands but she appeared to be 
unconscious or unable to move for quite some time."

De Villota joined the Marussia team in March, and has reportedly been waiting for this testing day all year. Based on reports so far, we will have to wait and see will she be able to take part in another one again.

Glock drops out of qualifying due to stomach bug

Timo Glock will not participate in qualifying for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Marussia driver has been complaining of a stomach since Friday, and has this morning been admitted to a hospital in Valencia for further treatment.

It is suspected that this stomach bug was caused by either food poisoning or some kind of infection.

If Glock wishes to take part in the race on Sunday, he will need to apply for permission from the race stewards.

A statement from Marussia reads as follows:

"Marussia F1 Team driver Timo Glock will not take part in this afternoon’s 
Qualifying session for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix for health reasons.

Timo has been fighting a stomach bug since Thursday. He felt well enough to 
take part in yesterday’s Free Practice sessions and had seemed to be improving. 
This morning, after Free Practice 3, he started to feel unwell again. It is clear 
that at this time, he is not sufficiently well to take part in a demanding 
Qualifying session and needs to recuperate further.

Timo and the Team will now seek further medical guidance this afternoon. Until such 
time as this guidance has been received, no decisions will be reached regarding 
tomorrow’s race. A further statement will be issued on Sunday morning."

F1 2012 season opener preview

There’s only a few days to go until the Formula 1 season kicks off again – the off-season really does fly by.

But there’s no time to waste. With everyone gearing up for a much closer title fight this year, it’s time to take one last glance at the pack, and try to predict how the teams will fare in Melbourne:

Red Bull

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Nobody can deny that Red Bull will be at the front this year – it’s almost a given.

However, that’s not to say that the Adrian Newey-designed RB8 will run away with the title again. The ban on exhaust-blown diffusers has cut their advantage to the other teams, and further restrictions on front wing flexibility put them under greater pressure over the winter.

Sebastian Vettel is still the team #1 after back-to-back world titles. While Mark Webber is gearing up to challenge his teammate, I don’t think the Australian is up to the challenge. The best indicator of Webber’s performance will be in Australia, where Mark has never finished higher than 5th. If he can break his streak of bad luck, then he may be in with a chance.

Still, I predict a Vettel pole position in Australia – after that nobody can be certain.

McLaren

The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

Pre-season testing has indicated that the Woking squad are back in top form in 2012.

However, they have a mighty challenger in the form of Red Bull. Both teams have tested out radical innovations on their cars, and it is still unclear who possesses the faster car. While Red Bull appear to have good qualifying pace, McLaren have performed well in long-fuel runs, similar to the 2011 season.

Lewis Hamilton’s well-publicised problems from 2011 appear to be behind him. The Brit has admitted he spent many nights partying during the 2011 season, which may well explain his loss of focus. There’s no doubt that Lewis is a fantastically talented driver, but there is also no excuse for underperforming in 2012.

His teammate, Jenson Button, will be looking to capitalise on a relatively successful 2011 season, and is hoping to beat Lewis again. However, if Hamilton has tackled his personal issues, then there may well be a brilliantly tight battle between the two this year.

Ferrari

Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

While the front two teams have already established themselves as title contenders before the season opener, Ferrari are still unsure as to their pace. How they react to their radical F2012 will be fascinating.

Fernando Alonso will continue to push the team – and the car – to the limits, and there is little doubt that Felipe Massa will be left trailing behind. Ferrari have a perfect team leader in Alonso, and Felipe’s #1 spot at the team (inherited in 2007) has been well and truly taken away from him.

With such a differing driver line-up, the constructor’s title is already out of reach for Ferrari. However, depending on how Ferrari react to developing their F2012, Alonso may challenge for the driver’s title later on.

Mercedes

Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

If Ferrari even stumble, Mercedes appear poised to snatch 3rd place in the constructor’s table from them.

After two disappointing years following the Brawn GP fairytale, things appear to be coming together for Mercedes. Team principal Ross Brawn has assembled some of the sport’s finest engineers to work on the W03, which showed good pace in pre-season testing.

Despite his age, Michael Schumacher may still be a force to be reckoned with. Nico Rosberg meanwhile will be looking to take his first ever race victory – compared to Michael’s colossal 91 wins.

It is unlikely that the team can challenge for the titles this year, but nobody can fully rule them out. Starting the season at the front is absolutely crucial.

Lotus

Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

With a new name and new driver line-up, Lotus are the midfield team to keep an eye out for.

The Enstone squad have one of the most exciting driver combinations on the grid – a former world champion and current GP2 title holder. It is more than likely that Kimi Raikkonen will assert himself as #1 in the team, but Romain Grosjean may well keep him on his toes.

What’s of more importance to the team is moving up the grid. After the frontal-exhaust disaster last year, the E20 appears to be much faster and more reliable, despite the chassis issue that ruled the team out of 4 testing days.

Like Mercedes, they are unlikely to make a massive jump up the grid, but I would be very surprised if Lotus were to finish any lower than 5th.

Force India

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Lotus aren’t the only team looking to make progress in 2011. After several impressive performances last year, Force India will be looking to push their way to the top of the midfield.

Adrian Sutil has been ditched after 5 years of faithful service, and his F1 career appears to be over. He has been replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who gets another shot in F1 after a good 2010 campaign with Williams.

The team have recently received a $32m cash injection from owner Vijay Mallya, so finances aren’t an issue. What the team want is a progressively faster car than last year – the VJM05 appears to be delivering so far.

Alongside Paul di Resta, this is another exciting driver line-up. This battle is much more difficult to call, but I think Di Resta will stay just on top.

Sauber

Sauber may struggle in 2012

Sauber may struggle in 2012

Another midfield team looking to make progress, Sauber may find themselves squeezed out this year.

While their driver line-up of Kobayashi and Perez is an impressive one, I fear the team has not kept up with the development of the rest of the grid. The team saw a massive slide in pace during the second half of 2011, and the loss of James Key was a massive blow.

With teams like Force India and Lotus looking to move up the grid, there may be no improvement from Sauber in 2012.

Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

The latest batch of Sebastian Vettel wannabes are in, and look set to provide an exciting battle for 2012.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are in, ousting Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, who had well and truly overstayed their welcome. With little to no F1 experience (several races for HRT doesn’t do much for Ricciardo), we have no idea who will end up on top.

The STR7 looks solid, but doesn’t seem to be pushing the team up the order. Most of the focus this year will be on the driver pairing, to see can either of them join Vettel at Red Bull.

Williams

Williams look set for another dismal season

Williams look set for another dismal season

After a dismal 2011 season, it appears unlikely that Williams will recover this season.

The Fw34 has been disappointing in testing, frequently ending up at the back of the pack. Bruno Senna brings a fresh face to the team, but Pastor Maldonado stays on, and frequent readers of this site know how I feel about him.

They may prove me wrong, but I see little improvement for Williams this year.

Caterham

Caterham must make progress in 2012

Caterham must make progress in 2012

After two years stranded in F1′s no-man’s-land, Caterham will be looking to push forward and join the midfield.

Failure is not an option for this team – they have spent way too much money to continue to fall behind teams like Williams and Sauber. Unlike HRT and Marussia, Caterham invested financially according to where they thought they would finish in several years, not where they would end up in the beginning. Banking their future on FIA payouts is risky, but it’s been done in F1 before.

Vitaly Petrov replaces the direly slow Jarno Trulli, and may give Heikki Kovalainen a run for his money.

HRT

Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

After finally turning a wheel before the opening race for the first time in their history, HRT have made ever so slight progress towards stability – albeit at the back of the grid.

With the oldest driver line-up on the grid, the team will be sorely lacking in pace. However, the most important thing for the team is that they stay afloat – many new teams collapse within the first two years, particularly back in the 1990s.

A neat livery may gain them some fans, but otherwise it’s business as usual at the back of the pack. They may struggle to reach the 107% rule in the opening rounds.

Marussia

Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

After finishing last yet again, Marussia will be looking to pull themselves ahead of HRT in the standings in 2012.

Rookie Charles Pic will find it most difficult, having little to no experience of the MR01 before Melbourne. I would be surprised if he were to survive the 107% chop in Q1.

Timo Glock, after proving his worth against all his teammates so far, deserves better than to be languishing in 23rd place all year, and the future of the team may well rest in his hands. No pressure, of course.

 

Of course, all of these predictions could fly out the window by the first corner in Melbourne! Either way, it’s looking set to be another fantastic season of Formula 1. I’ll be here to cover it every step of the way.

Marussia MR01 revealed at Silverstone

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia are the last team of 2012 to show off their 2012 car, called the MR01.

Like HRT, Marussia failed the FIA crash tests, meaning they could not take part in pre-season testing. However, they used today’s launch to get some track time as part of a promotional event.

The MR01 marks Marussia’s first attempt at using a wind tunnel to build their car, after the disaster of their CFD approach over the last 2 years.

As rumours anticipated, the car has followed McLaren’s lead in not using the stepped nose design.

Latest testing news round-up

As the third test session of 2012 draws to a close, we have only 4 more testing days before the teams roll into Melbourne. While many cars are still sandbagging in terms of pace, a clearer picture of the 2012 grid is now visible. Here is the latest news from the last few days:

HRT pass crash tests, but testing still in doubt

The HRT car has finally passed the FIA crash tests, allowing it to take part in pre-season testing.

However, doubts remain as to whether the team will be able to make it to the final test in Barcelona.

The F112 has been homologated by the FIA after passing the rollhoop test a few days ago. Despite this, the car is still not fully assembled, and sources within the team are only “hopeful” that the struggling team will be able to turn a wheel before Melbourne.

Massa: Ferrari back on track

Felipe Massa believes that Ferrari have finally found the key to unlocking the pace of their F2012.

The Scuderia have been plagued by disappointing pace so far in testing, as they struggled to adapt to the radical car. However, Massa has claimed that the team have found consistent pace:

"I think it's definitely the direction we need to follow for these last days of
testing we have, and I think today was a positive day, not so much in the morning
but in the afternoon.

I have to say that now we are a little bit more positive because we found the
direction to work and I'm sure now, having found the direction, we can see the
development coming.

In the afternoon we were able to do more than eight/nine timed laps consistently.
The laps were very consistent and it was very positive. We still need to work a
lot but at least we found the direction to get a much better car to drive, not
just for laptime for also for consistency."

In the past we didn't have so many directions to follow. This year we have so many
directions, so many possibilities and the most important thing was to find the right
one, and I'm sure we found it."

Still, when asked, on a scale of 1 to 10, how prepared the team was for the upcoming season, Felipe only replied “more than 5″.

FIA to tie up ECU loopholes

In the latest attempt to clamp down on teams manipulating exhaust gases to achieve downforce, the FIA have tightened the stricter engine mapping regulations implemented for 2012.

Back in October, it was revealed that new engine mapping regulations would eliminate exhaust gas manipulation. However, an engine supplier has tipped off the governing body, saying that teams had found a way to improve the flow of gases by inducing a misfire.

It has been confirmed that the FIA have worked with this engine supplier to remove this innovation. A revised software package for the standard ECU unit will be introduced before the Australian Grand Prix.

Marussia fails crash tests, testing ruled out

Marussia, like fellow team HRT, have failed the crash tests for their 2012 challenger.

However, it comes at a much more critical time, as this means the MR01 almost certainly cannot take part in pre-season testing. As this article was updated, it was unclear what sector the car failed in, but the issue cannot be rectified before March 1st.

A statement from the team read:

"The Marussia F1 Team is disappointed to confirm that the planned first test of 
its 2012 race car – the MR01 – has been delayed as a consequence of not passing 
the final FIA crash test.

All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted. 
Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the 
regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running 
commences.

The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later 
this week [1-4 March] and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash 
test at the end of the week."
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