Berthold Bouman, F1 correspondent
Although the 2012 contender failed to pass the mandatory FIA crash tests, Marussia today presented the MR01 at Silverstone. The new car will nevertheless get its on-track debut today during a promotional event at Silverstone, which means the car will run on demonstration tyres and not on the new Pirelli 2012 specification tyres.
The MR01 is a complete new design with little carry-over components from last year’s car. The Marussia Design Team is led by Technical Consultant Pat Symonds after the team last year parted company with Nick Wirth, and his philosophy of designing a car exclusively with the aid of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) has been abandoned.
The design team still uses the CFD technique but now also relies on more traditional design techniques, as well as using a wind tunnel. Marussia has restructured their resources and has brought together all their former bases as well as their human and technical resources in the Marussia Technical Centre in Banbury, UK.
Last year Marussia signed a technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies and the team has no doubt they will benefit from McLaren’s knowledge. Coincidence or not, the Marussia MR01 has the same nose as the McLaren MP04-27, which means it has no step or platypus shaped nose, a solution all other teams have opted for.
About the failed crash test Consultant Symonds explained to Reuters, “The component in question has actually passed an 'unobserved' crash test but has been performing inconsistently in the observed tests.” And he further commented, “The fail has only been marginal but, nonetheless, we need to completely eradicate that margin and as such we are taking the time we have to ensure we have an even more robust solution in place.”
German Timo Glock, who will turn 32 on March 18, and 22-year old Frenchman Charles Pic will drive the Cosworth powered MR01 at Silverstone today and tomorrow, and Team Principal John Booth was happy to finally see the 2012 car on track.
“We are very pleased to be running the new MR01 for the first time this morning. It has been a long and frustrating wait for everyone in the team but we can now get back on track -- literally -- and start working towards the first race of the season in Australia next weekend,” Booth said.
And he added, “Today is the first of two promotional events, so while the drivers will be able to get a feel for the car, they won’t be able to draw any real conclusions until we start running in anger in Melbourne. Nevertheless, this is an important day for us and we’ll enjoy every minute on track with the new car.”