Motorsports Mondial

Marussia unveils the MR01

The MR01, the Marussia F1 Team’s contender for the 2012 season, has made its on-track debut. The Anglo-Russian team is running its new car for the first time today at Silverstone in the UK for a promotional event ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next weekend.

The MR01 is the product of a ground-up re-evaluation of the way the team designs its racing cars. As such, the car is almost entirely ‘new’ with very few carryover components from last year’s MVR-02. This presented the design team, led by Technical Consultant Pat Symonds, with the challenge of going back to basics to produce a solid mechanical package, whilst maintaining an eye towards achieving the incremental performance steps required to move the team forward.

People and Resources
The starting point for the MR01 design programme was a consideration of the Marussia F1 Team’s people and resources. The former three-base operation has been consolidated into one site, the Marussia Technical Centre in Banbury, bringing the various elements of the business together to form ‘one team’. In particular, the design department and practices now benefit from far greater integration and collaboration. Furthermore, the aerodynamic department has been completely restructured and the aero methodology reinforced, blurring the boundaries between CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and experimental work in the wind tunnel, as well as enhancing the fidelity of the team’s aero approach.

The technical partnership forged with McLaren Applied Technologies in July of last year has been influential in the process and the relationship is starting to yield benefit as the advanced facilities that the Marussia F1 Team has access to have been used to prove the correlation process with the MVR-02. It is however early in the relationship and the MR01 will become a beneficiary of the relationship in due course.

Design Philosophy
The key design priorities were to address previous aerodynamic deficiencies and, mechanically, achieve greater weight saving. At the same time a lot of the detail of the car has been refined and the design team have been a little more adventurous than before, stepping closer to the engineering boundaries. The car can best be described as a significant evolution of its predecessors.

Driver Line-Up
Timo Glock commences his third season with the team, providing the all-important element of continuity required to keep moving the package forward. Timo is joined by Frenchman Charles Pic, who embarks on his rookie year in Formula One, having made the step up from GP2. Despite his 22 years of age, Charles has been racing in single-seater formulae for six years and has won races at every level.

John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team, commented:
“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. 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.”

Marussia F1 Team drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic will each enjoy some track time with the car over the next two days, albeit with the car running on demonstration tyres as opposed to the Pirelli P-Zero 2012 season performance tyres.

 

Motorsports Mondial

Drivers looking towards Melbourne.

Kimi Räikkönen:

“I was happy with today’s running. We didn’t have any major issues so it was certainly better than yesterday. Everything worked, we tried a lot of set-ups on the car and it all came together well. It was a long time in the car today but I feel fine. It was cooler today so the tyres didn’t work as well as otherwise but everything was okay. Of course, the fastest time at the end of the day looks good but no-one will know how fast any of the cars are until we get to qualifying at Albert Park. All the changes we have made over testing have been improving the car, so we’ll have to see what happens in Melbourne in a couple of weeks’ time. I’m feeling positive.”

Bruno Senna:

We had a productive morning completing a number of tyre tests and aero runs. It has been interesting to see the car developing. Overall we’ve had a good few days of running here in Barcelona.  We are still improving, but I feel we are in a solid position to go to Australia.

Pastor Maldonado:

We completed some good runs this afternoon and ended our test programme without issue. I’m feeling positive, and ready for Australia.

Nico Hulkenberg:

“We managed to fit a lot in today and hopefully when we have been through all the data we will have learned a lot, too. The race weekend simulation was useful, but unfortunately my race distance was cut short, so we will rely more on the data from Paul’s run yesterday. We were also busy trying all the tyre compounds to learn more about tyre management and how to get the most from them. You always want more time in the car, but I think we can be pleased with how our three tests have gone. We still need to find some more performance because the whole grid looks very close and competitive, and I expect the grid in Melbourne to be extremely tight.”

Vitaly Petrov:

 “I am more than happy with how we went today. The team has done a fantastic job all day and we’ve been improving in every area each time we went out. I had my new seat today so I’m really starting to get comfortable in the car and the laptimes are coming down, the setup is improving and everything is working really well. The last lap before lunch was close to perfect for me, with the conditions and the way the car behaved, but we know there is still more to come so that is good news, it keeps us pushing.

“This afternoon we were looking at a race simulation and despite the slightly early end to the day it all went to plan. The degradation levels were manageable and we didn’t have any issues at all with any of the systems – KERS, engine, gearbox or anything mechanical. We do have work to do, that’s the same for everyone, but I think we have prepared as well as we can for Melbourne so for me this has been a really good first couple of weeks with the team.”