Marussia Virgin Racing sporting director Graeme Lowdon says he is confident that the team will be able to make forward progress in the 2012 F1 season after a tough second year in the sport this time around.
Heading to Brazil next weekend for the season finale, Virgin look set to again end the season in the wooden spoon position in the constructors championship, with Lotus and HRT both ahead thanks to a superior finishing record despite sharing a zero haul of points.
However, changes behind the scenes over the course of this season – including a split with technical director Nick Wirth and a technical deal with McLaren
– leave Lowdon confident that the team will be able to make progress in 2012 after it became apparent that 2011 was going to be little more than 'character building'.
“It's no secret that we had hoped for more from this year's car, but that clearly wasn't going to happen once we got it,” he was quoted by the Daily Mail
. “We developed it as much as we could within the resources allowed, but it was evident this year was always going to be what you could call a character-building season. We've just had to live with that, to push as hard as we can, and when opportunities have come along, to take them.
“So the focus now is on next year's car. That's the key, with a huge amount of resource and effort going into that. We're all eagerly waiting to see how we can develop that, but at least we've the processes and resources in place now to develop the car much, much quicker than we have done this one.”
The team, which will run under the Marussia banner next season, has already confirmed that experienced German Timo Glock
will be its lead driver in 2012, with Frenchman Charles Pic
being widely tipped to join him in a race seat in place of Jerome D'Ambrosio – although the latter has made no secret of his desire to remain for a second season.