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Symonds insists: Marussia will survive
30 April 2013
Technical chief Pat Symonds insists that the Marussia team can survive in F1 despite plans to restrict the prize money in the sport to the top ten teams.
Under new plans, only the top ten teams on the grid would get a share of the prize fund, with the current 'consolation' payment going to teams outside the top ten being removed [See separate story HERE
That fact would put added pressure on Marussia and Caterham in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon this season, but despite admitting that most of the teams on the grid are facing financial concerns, Symonds said he felt sure that the Anglo-Russian team would be able to survive.
“It's really tough in Formula 1 at the moment,” he told Sky Sports
. “The fact is, outside the top four teams everyone has some financial concerns. And even in the top four you've got Mercedes who, while they haven't financial concerns, there must be other concerns there - that they don't go the way of Honda and Toyota.
"So everyone's worried. But the difference between the haves and the have nots is just immense - and it's not getting any better. Under the last Concorde Agreement the new teams including Marussia did get some payout from FOM; it wasn't a lot of money but it was a significant part of our budget, because our budget was so small. And when you take away things like that, it really hurts.
"I said that I really like the people here. They're racers - (Team Principal) John (Booth) and (President) Graeme (Lowdon) particularly, they're in the Frank Williams mould. They're not going to let this team go. So we will survive and the great thing about us is that we're small, so if things get tough one day we can pull our horns in a little bit. And if we get more money we'll use it wisely, because we're used to not having much money.
"I think that's reflected in our development last year. If you compare qualifying times in Malaysia between 2013 and 2012, Lotus and Force India both used softer tyres in 2013 than they did in 2012 but, excepting that, most people had improved by about 0.75 per cent. Marussia were 2.5 per cent quicker. Things like that make you think: 'We're going places.'"
While securing tenth spot would go some way towards helping Marussia financially, Symonds admitted that he was always aiming for more even though it may be 2014 before the team can expect to take a larger step forwards.
"I always like to set targets that are higher than we might realistically achieve,” he said. “The obvious target is tenth in the Championship but I don't find that a terribly exciting target, I'd like to target higher than that. I'd love to get into Q2; obviously I'd love to score a point. But more than anything, I want people to look at the team and respect the team - and I think that's started. I'd be happy to take our car and park it in any garage up the pitlane. The quality of our car is good.
"I know people in just about every garage and they do look at the car and say, 'That's a nicely designed and well-engineered car'. That gives me a lot of gratification. You get that respect from continually improving; points can't be that far away.
"[However] It would be very hard to imagine we'll get points [this season]. The engine rule change next year might equalise things a little bit but I don't know. Let's see."