Despite agreeing to continue with Cosworth power next season, the ambitious Marussia F1 team has been casting its net in the hope of catching on with another supplier for when the next set of regulations kick in for 2014.
The 2013 campaign will be the last with the current V8 formula before turbocharged 1.6-litre V6s are ushered in the following year and, despite Cosworth admitting that it has been developing its own unit for the new regulations, there are concerns that it will not have the finances to see the project to fruition [HERE
]. With erstwhile Cosworth customers Williams and Caterham having both moved on to use Renault engines, only Marussia and HRT remain on the British company's books but, with the uncertainty surrounding its future participation, need to explore alternatives.
With the success being enjoyed by Red Bull and Lotus, Renault - which looks set to be rivalled only by Mercedes and Ferrari on the engine front in 2014 - remains a favoured option for the backmarkers, but Marussia pilot Timo Glock has lamented the fact that the regie
does not appear keen to take on another client.
"It's always unfortunate when you are one of the smaller teams," the veteran told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport
, "We are apparently not as respected as others."
The decision is particularly galling for Glock, who has thrown his lot in with Marussia since the Toyota works team pulled out of F1 at the end of 2009, and firmly believes that the small British operation can take big strides next season.
"It is an advantage that the rules remain relatively the same [for 2013], as giant leaps for other teams are no longer possible," he reasoned, "Of course, all will evolve, but we have the opportunity, with [the addition of] KERS, to have a good package because I do think that we have the opportunity to advance into midfield. For next year, that is the goal."
Marussia has already built up useful technical collaborations with both McLaren and Williams and, from 2013, will use the latter's KERS system, which it hopes will allow it to leap-frog Caterham and join the likes of Toro Rosso, Sauber, Force India - and its technical partner - in the midfield.
"We're exceptionally pleased with the support we've had from them on the installation of the KERS," Marussia's Dave Greenwood confirmed, "It's been really, really good support from them and it's enabled us to get it into the car relatively easily and all of that work has gone well so far.
"The McLaren [partnership], which is the first one we did, with McLaren Applied Technologies, is going very well. We're pleased with the wind tunnel, we're pleased with the correlation we get to the circuit, which is one of the things that's given us the ability to progress at the back end of this season. Most updates that we've had have done what they should, so that's been very pleasing.
"The simulator programme is going well, particularly helping Charles [Pic] with learning circuits. This back end of the year has been perhaps circuits that he's not used to, so that's been a valuable tool for him."
The technical stability that Glock referred to will also help Marussia make the most of its 2012 developments, with Greenwood confirming that work on next year's car is now underway in earnest.
"I think it's been mentioned many times, the aero rules are quite consistent between 2012 and 2013," he concluded, "A bit like a few other teams, we opted to stay developing this car a little bit longer, but now we've firmly switched over to the '13 car and that's going reasonably well.
"A little bit of layout change was required because of the KERS, so it's taken a few wind tunnel sessions to start getting into that with different wheelbases etc, [and that's] really that's what the aero guys are focusing on. There's obviously quite bit of installation work going on to there to get [KERS] into the car from the design guys, but that's gone reasonably well. The first chassis is in manufacture and the guys are starting to do sample crash tests, so we're in a lot better position than maybe we were last year. Hopefully, with doing a bit more of our homework earlier one, we're looking to progress."