John Booth on the Marussia MR02

Max Chilton gave the new MR02 its first laps this morning. Photo: AC

Max Chilton gave the new MR02 its first laps this morning. Photo: AC

The new Marussia MR02 took to the track in Jerez in the hands of Max Chilton this morning, shortly after the car was unveiled for the first time.

Project led by Pat Symonds, the car is visibly a step forward relative to its predecessors, and is an altogether neater package.

The car is the first from the Virgin/Marussia camp to be designed via a blend of the wind tunnel and CFD. The first three cars were produced with CFD and last year’s was developed in the tunnel. The team has used the McLaren tunnel and simulator in its development programme, and among other things that has led to a Coanda-style exhaust, which is a major step forward.

It’s also the first car to feature KERS – sourced from Williams – which has inevitably led to some big changes in the package. Marussia is now the only user of the Cosworth engine, which is mated as previously to an Xtrac gearbox.

“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,” said team boss John Booth. “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. 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.

“We are confident that the MR02 is the product of evolving elements of last year’s package whilst integrating the new KERS system. It was said many times during 2012 that, notwithstanding the impressive steps we were taking in other areas of our development, KERS – or the lack of it – was the defining factor in determining our position relative to our immediate competitors. KERS was however a ‘strategic omission’ from our package until now; we opted to place the emphasis on aerodynamics, so that when we were in a position to bring the system to the car, we already had the strongest possible basis and its integration would be relatively straightforward.

“Thus far, this has certainly been the case, as our trackside engineering team have spent the winter refining their tools and preparing for the addition of KERS to ensure we can hit the ground running with effect from this week and use the short period of testing we have to get the car optimised for Melbourne.”

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