Due to recent events, we wanted to provide a brief history of the Marussia F1 Team. As one of the ‘backmarkers’ from the get go, Marussia has asked for administration with only 3 races left for the 2014 season.
Born of a collaboration of Manor Motorsport and Wirth Research, they were granted entry into Formula 1 in 2010. Known as Virgin Racing in 2010, with title sponsor Virgin Group, Marussia was one of the team’s partners. Near the end of the 2010, Marussia Motors bought a controlling stake in the team, thus changing the name for 2011 to Marussia Virgin Racing.
With a disappointing start to 2011, Wirth Research and Marussia parted ways, and Marussia entered a new agreement with McLaren Applied Technologies ahead of the 2012 season, thus leading them to the name change to Marussia F1 Team.
2012 was slated to be a promising season, with former Toyota F1 Team driver Timo Glock piloting one of the MR01’s. Knowing what a podium car can deliver, certainly there was hope he would be able to help develop a midfield car.
In addition to Timo, Charles Pic, a recent GP2 graduate, would join the team for 2012. Joining from the Addax GP2 team where he was awarded a successful 4th place, he was to make a strong second driver for the team.
In Marussia F1 Team’s maiden season, they scored enough to place above HRT F1 Team, but narrowly missed 10th place to Caterham, after having to retire Pic’s car 5 times, and losing valuable prize money in the process.
In 2013, Marussia entered the fray with their MR02 but without Glock or Pic. They had newcomers in Max Chilton and Ferrari Junior Driver, Jules Bianchi. With good reliability, and a few good results from Bianchi, the team finished ahead of Caterham, rounding out the season in tenth place netting them FOM and network rights prize money.
The MR03 was unveiled for 2014, where Marussia retained the two drivers from 2013. With an engine provided by Ferrari, since Cosworth didn’t want to get involved with building a turbo V6 conforming to the 2014 regulations, they were hopeful of some more speed. However, due to the engine being built around the Ferrari car, they had some ground to make up.
However, in the Monaco Grand Prix, Bianchi scored the first points for the team, and himself. After a penalty he didn’t serve, he was dropped from 8th to 9th, gaining 2 points.
In July, American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi joined the Marussia F1 Team as their test driver, taking part in a few practices since.
Recently, the accident in Suzuka involving Bianchi and a digger which was recovering the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil, has caused quite a stir in the landscape. The hashtags #forzaJules and #tousavecJules have been used in social media ever since, willing Bianchi to fight.
In Sochi, the team asked permission of FOM to run one car, to show respect to Bianchi, choosing to run only Chilton’s car and leaving Bianchi’s in a “ready to race” condition.
After Sochi, it was announced ahead of the USGP that Marussia would not be racing in the US. They’d been placed into administration, and now have a prospective “serious” buyer.
This short history of an F1 team doesn’t cover the monetary expenses, but it does show that the team landscape can change quickly from year to year. Even in the lesser teams, driver changes and inter-team changes can make a world of difference. So, for the sake of F1, let’s hope we don’t lose another minnow to the raging waters of F1.
Written by Jeff Trocchio