|Team||Marussia F1 Team|
Marussia F1 Team
TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE
The arrival on the Formula One™ calendar this year of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, will inevitably put the focus on the Marussia F1 Team. The team, originally known as Virgin Racing when financed by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, was renamed in 2012 when a major stake was acquired by the Russian supercar manufacturer. It will thus become very much a ‘home team’ for Russian supporters.
Rather in the manner of Force India, the team though still has its roots firmly entrenched in the English heartland of the sport. Initially the team was based in Sheffield in the north of the country, but in 2012 moved to a new headquarters in Brackley, Oxfordshire, close to Mercedes, Lotus, Williams, Force India and their close on-track rivals, Caterham.
When the team first entered Formula One™ in 2010, they arrived with a revolutionary concept of designing their car entirely using computer modelling, using computational fluid dynamics softwear rather than wind-tunnel testing. The idea was clever, but failed to fully handle the subtleties of the cars complex aerodynamics.
Since that time, Marussia have reverted to more conventional design and development processes. In 2013, that paid off, as rookie drivers Max Chilton and, in particular, Jules Bianchi impressed with sometimes heroic efforts to keep their cars ahead of close rivals Caterham through the season.
Bianchi, the first Formula One™ graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy programme, may be part of the reason why this year Marussia have been able to secure a Ferrari power deal, which includes not just the 1.6 litre turbo V6 engine, but the complex hybrid power train and eight-speed gearbox. The more complex car will inevitably pose a huge challenge to a small team, but giant-killing performances are potentially on the agenda for Marussia this year.