Marussia Racing will head to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix without having tested its 2012 car against its rivals, after the new MR01 failed the FIA's mandatory crash test programme.
The Banbury-based team announced the setback just days before the field was due to reconvene at the Circuit de Catalunya, revealing that its new machine failed one of the 18 tests required to put the car on track. Revised rules for 2012 mean that cars have to pass the tests prior to taking part in testing, rather than ahead of racing as in previous years.
“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," a statement issued by the team confirmed, "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, and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash test at the end of the week.”
The MR01 will be first car built entirely by Marussia - formerly Virgin Racing - following its split with Nick Wirth's eponymous company, which created the team's first two machines purely using CFD, rather than conventional windtunnel technology.
HRT, which faced a similar problem of not having tested prior to its debut in 2010, is understood to be heading for Barcelona with its 2012 car, having passed the FIA tests at the second attempt.