Crash.Net F1 News
Marussia to keep Cosworth in F1 2013
29 August 2012
Despite speculation suggesting that the engine builder may again be taking its leave of F1, Marussia has confirmed that it intends to continue using Cosworth power next season.
More interestingly, however, the Banbury backmarker has also revealed that it will employ a version of Williams' KERS system to give it a boost in performance, having so far declined to use the technology in an effort to concentrate on getting its basic package working efficiently after two years of toil under the Virgin banner.
The first details of next year's MR02 technical make-up were 'leaked' by Marussia's technical consultant Pat Symonds, the former Renault F1 head of engineering having been drafted in to oversee the team's progress following its split with original designer Nick Wirth during 2011. The current MR01 has been making steady progress this season, allowing it to overhaul HRT at the back of the field, but Symonds confirmed that, unlike recent reports concerning fellow 2010 newcomer Caterham, next year's car will be different from the 2012 version.
"The MR02 is on schedule," he confirmed, "As always, it's a tight schedule, but that's the way it should be if you want to bring maximum performance to the car. There are some reasonably significant changes but, in many ways, it's a progression of the MR01 - the lessons we have learnt from that car, from racing it now for half a season and some of the things that we wanted to do to that car that we simply didn't have time to do last year. So everything is on schedule and we are looking forward to a productive winter of testing and a strong start to the 2013 season.
"We will continue with the Cosworth engine, [as] we are happy with the work we are doing with them, and I think that we are working together to try and improve the areas that we are able to under the regulations. We are concentrating on improving the driveability of the engine and enhancing its performance as a unit with the car.
"We will [also] be using KERS next year. We plan to adopt the system that has been developed by Williams, which was used by them with the Cosworth engine last year and is currently [employed] with their Renault-engined car. Our 2013 unit is a development of this. We've been very impressed with the engineering, the efficiency and the weight. Williams are also a pleasure to work with both technically and commercially.
Despite being satisfied with the progress being made in 2012, Symonds insisted that there was still a long way to go over the next 18 months and beyond if the team wanted to become a genuine contender. In particular, the move from being entirely CFD-conceived to a more conventional wind tunnel assisted car remains a work in progress.
"We need to improve in all areas," he conceded, "A team is only as good as its weakest part, so we need to bring everything on together. But, in terms of performance, our primary target is to improve the aerodynamics of the car. I'm very pleased with the progress we've made aerodynamically in the last few months, and I have every reason to believe we can continue that,, [but] our aim for 2013 is to build on this strong foundation as we expand our aero department to try and bring yet more performance to the car, while at the same time not neglecting the mechanical aspects.
"We are also faced with getting KERS working well and understanding all the nuances of that and how to go racing with it. There are therefore many areas where I think we can make substantial improvements through the course of 2013."
Approaching its 50th grand prix, Marussia continues to be one of the smallest teams on the grid, but Symonds is confident that it now has the set-up and know-how to move forward.
"It's really only a year since [the team] has become my major 'pre-occupation'. In that time, we've been trying to build the team up month by month as we go along. We wanted to achieve steady progress in terms of growth, but what I think is more important than the expansion is the improvement in the organisation, bringing everything under one roof and really building ourselves up into a credible team. We have been putting the team in a position where we can move up the grid over the course of the next few years.
"I think our  season has been one of continual improvement. We can certainly say that the start of the season was very difficult for us and, from that, we have experienced a lot of new heights - getting our wind tunnel programme working, delivering performance to the car in a cost-effective way, improving our procedures. It is important to remember that we're a very new team, and therefore there is an awful lot to be addressed. But I think rather than a single highlight there is just a continual improvement - a slow march forward towards the leaders and our direct competitors. Those are the things that give us some confidence in where we are heading."