The team has changed names from Virgin to Marussia at the start of the season and this year is their first season not using Nick Wirth to develop the car using CFD. Pat Symonds, formally of Benetton and Renault, developed the car on a shoestring and in a short time so the year was always likely to be a struggle for Marussia as they tried to establish a solid base to move forward from in the future.
After the various disasters in their first two years using CFD to develop the cars, including issues such as not having a large enough fuel tank, this year has to be looked upon as a fresh start by the team. I was impressed by their decision to blow up the team and restart again by terminating their agreement with Wirth.
Timo Glock gives them a solid driver, in a similar mould to Kovallainen at Caterham, and they are lucky to have such a talented and dependable driver with which they can clearly track their progress. The German, a former podium finisher with Toyota, has driven well this year but his teammate, Charles Pic, has been a surprise package.
The Frenchman has outqualified Glock on four occasions and had an impressive season where he has consistently improved. He has shown impressive speed but now just needs to be more consistent in races.
It is impossible to write about Marussia’s fortunes without mentioning Maria de Villota. The Spaniard’s testing crash in June stole the headlines and put a lot of negative attention on Marussia. The team clearly hired de Villota so that they could use having a female driver as a way to increase their profile but the accident, and Maria’s lack of racing pedigree, will clearly cost them in the medium term.
Having failed to get the car through the crash tests in time for the initial pre-season tests it has been a year of hardship for Marussia but the upheaval of their technical department was long overdue and they are at least now in a position to progress going forward and become a more consistent team.