By Berthold Bouman
The Russian-Anglo Marussia team is also looking forward to the race in Monaco this weekend, they have had a strong season start, as they managed to outpace their direct rival Caterham. The Monaco Grand Prix is always special, and rookie Jules Bianchi is looking forward to what he considers to be his home Grand Prix.
John Booth: It’s a track which really showcases a driver’s ability
Team Principal John Booth faces a tough challenge this season, but the Monaco Grand Prix is always something special. “Racing around the tight and twisty streets is an unparalleled experience for any driver and Jules [Bianchi] and Max [Chilton] are both very excited and looking to the race weekend with confidence after spending time in the simulator,” he said.
Quizzed about this weekend’s challenges he commented, “It’s a track which really showcases a driver’s ability so we look forward to seeing more of the obvious potential of both of our drivers shining through again. Monaco will not be without its challenges I’m sure and there will be the same heavy focus on tyre management. We do have a few minor developments however, which we hope will keep us moving in the right direction.”
Team Principal John Booth – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: I hope we can put on a good show
Driver Max Chilton is looking forward to his first race in a Formula One car on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, “It’s shaping up to be quite a weekend so I hope we can put on a good show for the benefit of all the partners and guests who are making the trip there.”
“It’s a fascinating track and everything can turn on a knife-edge because of factors like the close proximity of the barriers and the importance of qualifying ahead of our immediate competitors,” the Briton added.
About the recent car developments he commented, “Although this is a very different challenge to Spain, I hope we can carry through some of the benefits we saw from the new developments last time out and have a better showing in Monaco.”
Home GP for Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1
Jules Bianchi: This season is a dream come true
Frenchman Jules Bianchi feels Monaco is his home Grand Prix and he said ahead of the race, “When I was nine or ten years old and used to go to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, I could never have imagined that one day I would be racing here myself. So much of this season is a dream come true but next weekend is certainly one of the highlights for me. It’s a unique race, a fantastic experience on and off the track and the atmosphere is very special.”
He too, is hoping the Barcelona updates will help the team to make more progress, and Bianchi said, “I would like to think that we can have a strong weekend after some positive signs with the new upgrade in Spain. We were not able to make the best of it on race day there but I hope for better things in Monaco.”
Marussia are now tenth in the Constructors’ Championship, and Bianchi and Chilton are 19th and 22nd respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.
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By Berthold Bouman
Marussia is also heading to Barcelona for round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. Like all other teams, Marussia will also bring an updated package to Barcelona, and are hoping to improve their race pace.
John Booth: We head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared
Marussia Team Principal John Booth did enjoy the long three-week break, and said, “We head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared for the start of the next phase of races. It was a whirlwind start to the season for us in some ways and the past few weeks have allowed the drivers in particular to draw a little more breath.”
About the first race on European soil Booth commented, “Barcelona is always an interesting race as it provides a very good barometer of car performance up and down the grid and also the benefit of the new upgrades most teams will bring to their cars.”
Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1
Marussia will also test some new parts at Barcelona, and Booth said, “Having tested here over two weeks pre-season, we’ll be taking the opportunity to use that baseline data to further analyse our progress to date, conducting some back to back work with our Bahrain package prior to fielding our new developments for this race.”
Jules Bianchi: The team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi has been the surprise of the season so far, and he too, is looking forward to race on familiar grounds again. About his Formula One debut he said, “Although my first four races have been quite positive — and a nice adventure for me personally — as a driver in my debut season it is good to be heading into the start of the European season.”
The Frenchman is confident ahead of the race in Spain and commented, “The team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress so it will be good to verify our findings with the package so far and of course to explore our new developments for Spain. I’m looking forward to getting busy in the car again.”
Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: We’ve learned a lot in the first four races
Max Chilton was clear about the progress the team has made, “We’ve learned a lot in the first four races and quite a lot since, with the technical team having been hard at it in the break. What we bring to the Circuit de Catalunya is the product of four races of evaluation coupled with the next step in our ongoing development path, so it will be interesting to see how we can progress from Bahrain.”
About the circuit the Briton said, “On a personal level this is a track I enjoy and have raced at plenty of times, and that will also be useful as we work through a busy evaluation programme on Friday in particular.”
Marussia are currently 10th in the Constructors’ Championship, Bianchi is 19th, and Chilton 22nd in the Drivers’ Championship.
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By Berthold Bouman
Marussia is determined to iron out some of the issues they encountered in Shanghai last weekend, while the team’s reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez will be behind the wheel of Jules Bianchi’s car on Friday morning during the first practice for round four of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix.
John Booth: We need to work hard
Team Principal John Booth knows Bahrain is quite a different circuit compared to Shanghai, and his team will have to work hard to be competitive, “This track represents a different challenge from Shanghai but both drivers have raced here before in the junior formulae, so factors like the track conditions — the heat, the wind, the sand — are not a completely unknown quantity for them.”
“We’ll need to work hard to achieve the right compromise of car set-up, to manage the grip level and cooling demands. The asphalt can also be quite abrasive here, so it will be interesting to see how the tyre story unfolds here through the weekend.”
About the problems they experienced last weekend Booth commented, “We experienced a few frustrations in Shanghai which we are determined to iron out here so that we give ourselves the opportunity to properly showcase our developments and maintain a clearer picture of where we are in respect to the cars ahead.”
Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1
Jules Bianchi: I’m excited to see what we can achieve here
Bianchi is happy with the progress he has made and said, “Although it’s still early days, I am really comfortable with my understanding of the car, the direction we are heading in as a team and where I can continue to develop personally. There’s been a nice pace to the season so far, so although we’ve had just a week before this race, I think it will allow us the chance to consolidate the progress we have made with the interim updates.”
About the circuit he remarked, “There are some tricky features and also the conditions make it even more challenging with the high temperatures. It can also be also be quite windy. I’ve had a bit of experience here in GP2 so it’s good to be back and I’m excited to see what we can achieve here.”
Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: The updates we brought to China were a good step
Max Chilton is also looking forward to yet another challenging circuit and said, “I’ve raced at the Bahrain International Circuit a few times so I know it to be a great track with quite a few challenging elements to it. It’s one of those circuits that seems to be constantly changing through the weekend, so it will be important to get a positive start in Free Practice to provide a good baseline for us to read the rest of the sessions.”
He is also pleased with the car updates and is confident of a strong showing this weekend, “The updates we brought to China were a good step, so hopefully we can feel more of the benefit of those this weekend. All in all, I’m quite comfortable that things are heading in the right direction now and I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off.”
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By Berthold Bouman
Marussia is also ready for round three of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. This weekend’s Grand Prix will be the tenth race on the Shanghai track, a real drivers track similar to Sepang.
John Booth: We will be running some new suspension parts
Marussia’s Team Principal John Booth is satisfied with the start of the season and said, “After such a positive start to the season, I think we are all keen to get back to the racing.”
But there won’t be many major updates available for the race in China and Booth commented, “The cars were freighted directly to China, so while we would not call the upgrades we have for this race comprehensive, they are still significant. We will be running some new suspension parts that we proved out in testing but delayed until we had some further race distance experience with the MR02. We also have some new front and rear brake ducts.”
And he added, “The bigger push will come for Europe, but for now it’s good to be bringing new incremental updates to the car to maintain our positive trajectory. The drivers have spent some time in the simulator during the break and generally they are feeling much better prepared for the next phase of the season.”
Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: Shanghai a nice challenge with some interesting features
Briton Max Chilton enjoyed the three-week break, but can’t wait to race again. “The break since Malaysia has been really beneficial on the one hand because it has given us the chance to reflect on the first two races and what we need to do to keep on making progress. On the other hand, off the back of the first two races of my Formula One career, it has also felt a bit like an eternity and I can’t wait to head to China now and get back to racing!”
He has never raced on the circuit and Chilton has prepared himself on the simulator, “I only have my experience of watching the races there in the past and my recent simulator work to go by, but it looks like a nice challenge with some interesting features. Shanghai itself will also be a new experience. We have a few updates to the car; so far the developments we have brought have worked well and I’m sure we can keep moving in a positive direction.”
Jules Bianchi – Photo: Marussia F1
Jules Bianchi: It’s all about maintaining the momentum now
Frenchman Jules Bianchi has been the surprise of the season, he clearly outperformed his team colleague, and he too, can’t wait to get behind the wheel of his car again. “Things had started out so well that it was almost a shame to have to stop for a few weeks,” Bianchi said.
“I was able to reflect on what has been a bit of a whirlwind, but a very positive start to my first season of Formula One nonetheless. I am quite happy with the progress so far. It’s all about maintaining the momentum now, so it is good to know that we head into the next race with some new developments which should carry us forward again.”
Asked about his aims for this weekend he said, “The target for this race is to keep closing on the guys ahead and be challenging them consistently, lap for lap.”
Marussia is currently tenth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Bianchi and Chilton are 17th and 20th respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.
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By Berthold Bouman
Marussia have also travelled to Sepang for the second round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Marussia MR02 made a promising debut in Australia, and the Anglo-Russian team is looking to build on the results of Melbourne.
John Booth: No significant changes to the car
Team Principal John Booth was satisfied with the new MR02 and said, “The out-of-the-box reliability and performance of the MR02 has been very pleasing to see, especially as the car is quite a significant evolution of the MR01 and we have had to make the necessary modifications to accommodate KERS for this season.”
He’s hoping to build on the Melbourne success, “Up and down the field, every team will be aiming to make progress and keep developing their package, so we need to maintain our current momentum.”
But there won’t be any car updates said Booth, “Given the tight turnaround between these two races, there won’t be any significant changes to the car. Instead, we’ll be able to look at optimising the set-up for this circuit and gathering more data to send back home in real-time, so our technical team can start working on the next batch of developments for rounds three and four.”
Marussia are hoping to maintain momentum – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: We are close to the mid-field
Max Chilton made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he’s hungry for more action. “It’s time to start thinking about round two in Malaysia this weekend and what we can do to build [on] the momentum. We have shown how close we are to the midfield, so getting within striking distance of that pack is our next target and that is what I’m focusing on,” said the Briton.
And he added, “After such a positive start to the season and an obviously competitive car, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to drive it this weekend.”
Jules Bianchi: Prepared for Sepang on simulator
Also Jules Bianchi made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he too is already looking forward to the second race on the calendar. About his debut the Frenchman commented, “Although my debut went well, there are some areas that I need to work on and where I can improve — as you would expect — so this race we will have a little more time and experience to think about what we need to do to keep pushing forward.”
The conditions in Malaysia will be difficult, but Bianchi thinks he’s well-prepared for his next challenge, “This week I have had the chance to think everything through — what I have learned and where I need to go from here. I had a good debrief with my engineering team and I feel very comfortable, so now I start to think about Malaysia. I’ve done some work in the simulator and I think Sepang is a circuit I’m going to enjoy. I know the challenge it brings in terms of the heat and humidity, so I’m prepared for that.”
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By Berthold Bouman
Marussia also attracted two new drivers for 2013, Max Chilton replaces Charles Pic, whilst Jules Bianchi takes over the place of Luiz Razia, who was ousted after his sponsor deals fell through. During testing Marussia have shown they might be quicker than archenemy Caterham, which is an exciting prospect ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Team Principal John Booth: We are in our best shape ever
Marussia’s Team Principal John Booth is despite the financial troubles the team encountered optimistic ahead of the 2013 season. “In many ways we are in our best shape ever as a team and everyone is thriving on that and looking forward to what we hope will be a positive 19-race journey ahead. Our new package has performed well in pre-season testing, with encouraging signs in terms of performance and reliability.” he declared.
“But,” he said, “It is still too early to fully appreciate the progress we have made for 2013, as that wide picture has a habit of revealing itself in Melbourne, but we make the long journey there this weekend feeling confident in our direction.”
Marussia practicing pit stops at Barcelona – Photo: Marussia F1
Max Chilton: I feel totally prepared
Chilton is yet another rookie who can’t wait to get behind the wheel at the opening race of the season. “The past few weeks of pre-season testing have flown by, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the car working on so many different things that I feel totally prepared for what lies ahead now,” said the Briton.
About winter testing he remarked, “We gathered a lot of information with the MR02 in Jerez and Barcelona and at every stage it has been possible to see the benefit of all that learning and development. I hope to continue that in the opening races.”
“I’m looking forward to the experience of Albert Park and the rest of the city, as I’ve heard so many great things about the place and the atmosphere. It’s going to be quite a weekend,” he predicted.
Jules Bianchi: Nice and positive vibe about the team
The past few weeks have been exciting to say the least for Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who was test driver for Force India. “So much has happened over the past couple of weeks that it’s difficult to get my head around the fact that I am about to begin my Formula One racing career in Melbourne next weekend. I guess excitement is the only emotion I’ve had time to experience, there has been so much to do and so many people to meet,” he said.
Bianchi, who’s the grandnephew of 1960s Formula One driver Lucien Bianci, has a good feeling ahead of the season, “Things happen for a reason and I feel confident that we are going to have a very positive season together. There is a nice and positive vibe about the team and good signs from the work that has been done with the MR02.”
He’s confident the Marussia MR02 is a great car and said, “I felt very comfortable based on my previous experiences with other F1 cars I have driven, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the first few races.”
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By Berthold Bouman
In a statement issued today, Marussia have confirmed that they have terminated Luiz Razia’s contract, and appointed Jules Bianchi, who was in contention for a race seat at Force India, as second driver to race alongside Briton Max Chilton this season.
Not an entirely unexpected move, as Razia reportedly failed to get the money promised by his sponsors, and Marussia had no other option than to replace him. Bianchi will start testing with immediate effect, and will be driving the Marussia MR02 during the last two test days at Barcelona this weekend.
Team Principal John Booth said, “Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the Paddock. He has been on a clear trajectory towards Formula One and has achieved some impressive performances through the various feeder formulae, notably his 2012 season in Formula Renault 3.5 when he was also reserve driver for Force India.”
About terminating Razia’s contract Booth remarked, “We have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to terminate our contract with Luiz Razia. Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, and given the steps we had taken to put that new structure in place, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long-term future.”
Bianchi will start testing tomorrow and Booth said, “Jules can now look forward to a very swift initiation into the team over the course of the next two days here in Barcelona, when he is expected to run for one and a half days to afford both our drivers some dry running with the latest aero specification.”
Bianchi, who lost the race for a seat at Force India, was thrilled with this new chance, “Racing in Formula One this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.”
And the 23-year old driver added, “The next two weeks of preparation for the season will be incredibly busy but I am ready to get started tomorrow with my first day in the MR02.”
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia today announced Liuz Razia will partner Max Chilton this season, the 23-year old Brazilian will already get his first taste of the Marussia MR02 today as the second day of pre-season testing gets underway at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez.
Team Principal John Booth was pleased to finally complete his 2013 driver line-up. “Luiz isn’t new to our team of course, having been reserve driver in our debut season in 2010 and part of our Young Driver Programme. It is therefore very pleasing to have not one but two graduates of that Programme driving for us in 2013, and also very exciting, since both Luiz and Max demonstrated a great deal of potential competing alongside each other in GP2 last season,” Booth commented.
About Razia he said, “When Luiz moved to GP2 in 2011, we had every expectation that he would progress to the extent that he has. He is a very quick and tenacious driver who battled hard to the runner-up spot last year. Together with Max, we are fielding a young but incredibly ambitious pairing and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve.”
The Marussia MR02 at Jerez with Chilton at the wheel – Photo: Marussia F1
Razia said about his new position as racing driver, “I am very proud to take the step up to a Formula One race seat, particularly with the Team I began this journey with, since they helped show me what it takes to progress to the highest level.”
And he added, “This coming season will be all about rewarding the faith the Team have shown in me. I am looking forward to beginning that process in Jerez where we are testing the MR02 for the first time.”
“I am also looking forward to the first race in Melbourne and I’m excited to be racing alongside Max, who I competed ‘against’ last season.”
Timo Glock left the team two weeks ago, as Marussia indicated that they needed a paying driver this season. Whether this was a wise decision or not remains to be seen, neither Chilton nor Razia have any real experience racing a modern Formula One car, and yet they will be responsible for setting up and developing the new Marussia MR02, thus putting Marussia’s future in their hands.
By Berthold Bouman
Also Marussia introduced their 2013 challenger, the MR02, today at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez. One of the main changes is the introduction of the Williams’ designed and supported KERS system which should make the car quicker.
The car is an evolution of the MR01, and Marussia will continue their partnership with Xtrac and Cosworth this season. In a statement Marussia said, “The MR02 will be powered by Cosworth’s CA2013K power unit this season. Our transmission technology partner Xtrac brings an evolution of the 2012 gearbox design, with particular attention paid to increasing the installation stiffness of the suspension.”
The team also continues their partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies, ‘to provide some of the tools which allow us to design and develop an increasingly competitive race car, in particular the use of wind tunnel and simulator’.
John Booth, Marussia’s Team Principal today commented on the new car, “We embark on the first pre-season test of 2013 feeling very positive about our new car — the MR02 — and what lies ahead in this next important chapter in the development of the Marussia F1 Team.”
Marussia Team Principal John Booth – Photo: Marussia F1
“Whilst we have experienced some changes over the winter, the one area of stability we have enjoyed is the one that is most important to our progression from here, the design of our 2013 race car, led by our Technical Director Pat Symonds.”
About last season Booth said, “The incremental steps we were taking in the latter half of last season gave us the confidence to not only fight hard for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, but to feel encouraged by our overall design direction, which was the basis for the car we are fielding here in Jerez today.”
And he added, “It is early days in our pre-season development programme but there is a great deal of optimism amongst the Team for what lies ahead. With that in mind, we all look forward to seeing the MR02 make its on-track debut later this morning.”
Marussia has only confirmed one driver for this season, the 21-year old Max Chilton, who will take the car through its paces today. Chilton was already test driver for the Anglo-Russian team in 2012 and also drove for the Marussia Carlin GP2 Team, and finished in fourth place of the 2012 GP2 Championship.
All Photos: Marussia F1
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia today announced Timo Glock will, by mutual consent, leave the team with immediate effect. The 30-year old German driver joined Marussia, then named Virgin Racing, at the end of 2009, and according to the UK-based squad Glock played an important role in the development of the team’s car.
Team Principal John Booth said, “Timo has made a very significant contribution to our team over the past three seasons, helping us to develop our package to the point where, for a large proportion of the 2012 season, we were holding 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship.”
“Timo is a fantastic driver and he has been a very popular member of the team.”
Glock said in the official statement, “I have had three excellent years with the Marussia F1 team, during which I had the chance to actively participate in building and developing the team in its endeavours to succeed within the Formula One World Championship. I would like to wish the team good luck in navigating this next period and thank everyone for the great times we shared and the support I have received.”
About the next step in his racing career he said, “Although it is not the path I expected to be taking, I am in fact very excited about what the future holds in terms of my own career and I hope to comment on that very soon.”
Timo Glock leaves Marussia after three years – Photo: Marussia F1
Glock had a contract until the end of 2014, but nevertheless decided to quit. Although the Marussia statement didn’t address the reason why he left, Booth hinted commercial factors were behind Glock’s exit. “Our team was founded on the principle of benefiting from proven experience whilst also providing opportunities for young emerging talent to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport. Thus far, this philosophy has also been reflected in our commercial model,” Booth said.
And he further explained, “The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future. Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula One teams included.”
Which of course could mean that Glock will be replaced by a paying driver who will race alongside Max Chilton, who has an impressive sponsor portfolio. At the end of 2012 it became clear Marussia needed more funding, as they lost tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship, which is said to be worth some 10 million Euro.
Booth thanked Glock for his work with the Marussia team, “We would like to thank Timo for working with us to reach this decision, especially as he had a valid contract, and also for the contribution he has made to our team. We wish him all the best for his future and I would like to congratulate the next team acquiring the services of such a competitive, professional and experienced racer.”
Asked about Glock’s replacement Booth said, “We will provide an update regarding the completion of our driver line-up in due course.”
This also means there are now not two, but three race seats available for this season as Force India and Caterham also still have to announce their second driver.
By Berthold Bouman
According to the Marussia F1 team, Maria de Villota has returned to her native Spain after her crash two weeks ago at Duxford Airfield. De Villota has been treated at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge since her crash on July 3. The Marussia test and reserve driver sustained serious head and facial injuries and lost her right eye when her car suddenly accelerated and slammed into the back of a support truck.
“Maria left Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge yesterday and returned directly to Spain,” a Marussia statement read. “Over the course of the past two weeks, Maria has made significant progress. More comfortable and familiar surroundings, plus the support of her wider family and friends, will undoubtedly provide a more conducive environment in which Maria can commence the next phase of her recovery,” the statement further read.
“The Marussia F1 Team have remained in close contact with the medical team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital since Maria’s admittance and would like to express their gratitude for the remarkable care and attention that she has received there.
“The Marussia F1 Team — the staff, race drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic, and all those associated with the Team — wish Maria well with the next stage of her recovery. The management team will continue to liaise closely with Maria and her family and provide any assistance possible during the coming months.”
Team Principal John Booth maintains there were no technical problems with the car before the accident. “We had two priorities immediately after the accident, first being Maria’s welfare of course, that was foremost in our minds. The second was to start to investigate the cause and clear the car of any part of that of course, with Silverstone coming up. We established that but then revisited our findings straight after Silverstone and now we’re 100% confident that the car was not to blame in the slightest,” said Booth during the usual FIA Friday press conference at Hockenheim.
Booth didn’t want to reveal anything about the outcome of the investigation,, “As for the wider investigation, that is ongoing and will be a very long process, as in England it has to be, it’s taken very seriously there, as you know. It will be some time before we know the final outcome. It would inappropriate for me to comment any further on that.”
Meanwhile, Carlos Gracia, Spanish Motorsport President and FIA Vice-President, has criticised the Marussia team, he is unhappy as he thinks Marussia wants to blame de Villota for the accident. “I see it that they want to shift the responsibility to Maria, but we need to wait if she can recover her memory.”
And the Spaniard added, “In any case, even if it was a driving mistake, there was a failure of logistics, when we speak about a truck ramp that acted like a knife. It’s the same as a garage door raised to the height of a driver’s head. That’s a team failure, so there is a responsibility that certainly is not Maria’s”
Gracia will raise the issue of safety precautions during testing at the next meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia rules out technical problems caused the accident test driver Maria de Villota had almost two weeks ago at Duxford Airfield. Marussia has completed an investigation they carried out to see whether the crash was the result of car-related issues, as they were worried such issues could resurface during the British Grand Prix.
Marussia said in a statement, “The Marussia F1 Team conducted an initial analysis immediately after the crash. This aimed to identify the causes and contributory factors behind the accident and also served to determine if there were any car-related implications for the impending British Grand Prix. Having carefully examined all the data and supplementary information available at that time, the Team were satisfied that there were no such car-related issues and cleared its chassis for race weekend participation.”
According to the statement, Marussia carried out an internal detailed analysis of the accident and also commissioned an external forensic investigation which was conducted at Duxford Airfield, according to Marussia, a much used Formula One testing venue approved by the FIA. Marussia stated that the ‘external analysis has been carried out autonomously of the team’s own internal investigation’.
Although the team has not found the cause of the accident, Team Principal John Booth is adamant there were no technical problems with the car de Villota was driving at Duxford Airfield. “We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident. We have shared and discussed our findings with the HSE (the British Health & Safety Executive) for their consideration as part of their ongoing investigation,” Booth commented.
And he added, “This has been a necessarily thorough process in order to understand the cause of the accident. We have now concluded our investigatory work and can again focus on the priority, which continues to be Maria’s well-being. In that regard, we continue to support Maria and the De Villota family in any way we can.”
De Villota sustained serious head and facial injuries and lost her right eye after her Marussia MR01 suddenly accelerated and slammed into the back of a support truck during a test session at Duxford Airfield on July 3. She underwent surgery twice at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Since last week de Villota is no longer under sedation and she is currently working on her recovery.
By Berthold Bouman
Marussia test driver Maria de Villota underwent extensive surgery at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, the procedure started yesterday afternoon and lasted until this morning. De Villota sustained life-threatening facial and head injuries when she crashed into the back of a support vehicle during a test at Duxford Airfield yesterday morning.
Sadly surgeons were not able to save her right eye. According to a statement issued by the Marussia Formula One Team, de Villota remains in a critical but stable condition.
Team Principal John Booth stated, “Maria emerged from theatre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital this morning after a lengthy operation to address the serious head and facial injuries she received in the accident at Duxford Airfield yesterday.”
“We are grateful for the medical attention that Maria has been receiving and her family would like to thank the Neurological and Plastics surgical teams. However it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.”
“We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding with regard to updates on Maria’s condition. We will provide further information when it is appropriate to do so and with consideration for her family.”
De Villota’s family is at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital to support the 32-year old daughter of ex-Formula One driver Emilio de Villota. Booth also thanked the emergency services who were quickly at the accident scene to look after the injured driver before she was transported to hospital.
“In the meantime, we would all like to take this opportunity to praise the emergency services at Duxford Airfield, who were on stand-by yesterday, as is usual procedure for a Formula One test,” Booth said.
“With regard to the accident, we have embarked on a very comprehensive analysis of what happened and this work continues for the moment. Finally, we have been overwhelmed by messages of support for Maria, her family and the Team and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for those.”
It is still a mystery what exactly went wrong when de Villota returned from her first run on the airstrip, braked and slowed down to be pushed into the make-shift pit area. According to eyewitnesses the car suddenly accelerated straight into the Circuit2Circuit Limited owned truck that had transported the Marussia MR-01 Formula One car to the airfield.
According to the BBC, Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the test track today.
By Berthold Bouman
The Anglo-Russian Marussia team is also looking forward to their home Grand Prix at the last year renewed Silverstone circuit. Marussia recently moved their base to Banbury, just 17 miles from the Silverstone track. Not only is Team Principal John Booth looking forward to racing in his backyard, he is also proud his team has now developed their first major car upgrade.
“We have a fairly significant upgrade for this race, comprising a new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods,” said Booth. And he further explained, “I would have to describe this as our ‘first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade of the season’; we’ve had some smaller parts in Malaysia and China, and a few small iterations recently, but this is the first fully developed package that is not just a modification of existing elements.”
Timo Glock, who suffered from a stomach bug in Valencia and therefore was unable to race, is ready for the British Grand Prix. “I can’t wait to get back in the car and work with the team towards a smooth home race for the fantastic British fans,” Glock said.
“We have some substantial upgrade developments which I hope will give us a little step forward and ensure we can have a good showing.” Silverstone is one of his favourite tracks and Glock commented, “Normally it can be very interesting with the weather; not just the sunshine or rain, but it can often be quite windy, which can upset the car quite a lot from day-to-day and from session to session.”
Rookie Charles Pic also loves the track, “I love the fantastic fast corners, particularly from Copse through Becketts and on to Stowe.” He too hopes the upgrades will bring the team the progress they need. “I am now eager to see the new aero package results on the track. It is quite a comprehensive step for the team and the result of a really collaborative effort,” the Frenchman said.
He is also looking forward to race in front of the British fans, “Off-track it is going to be very busy with plenty of PR activity with the partners and our fans, but I know we can expect a massive reception from them, which will give the team an extra boost!”