Next year is all about engines. No one will be embracing the switch to smaller-capacity engines as wholeheartedly as the Marussia F1 team. Having been lumbered with underpowered Cosworth engines since the team’s inception in 2010, Marussia has been at an extreme disadvantage.
Experts agree that because of the Cosworth’s inefficient fuel consumption and thus need for extra fuel during a race, more than half a second can be calculated out of any given lap time due to that factor alone from a car using that engine.
That won’t be news to Marussia, however, who upon seeing Caterham F1 team’s progress over the last three years with their Renault engine, will have felt nothing but envy towards all the teams in the current field.
If you look at how the opening races played out this season, the obvious point is that Marussia had the major upper hand. Yes, Caterham was significantly behind in their development process, but Marussia was convincingly putting them to shame.
The story wasn’t over when Caterham finally brought their upgrades in Spain either. While Marussia were finally out-qualified, it was hardly a foregone conclusion that it would be the norm for the rest of the season.
This proves that Marussia may have been onto something this season. If you look at the qualifying deficits (in dry sessions) since Spain between the fastest Marussia and the fastest Caterham, the average is three tenths of a second. Therefore, logic suggests that with a normal engine (Ferrari, Mercedes or Renault), the Marussias would be at least two tenths faster than the Caterhams on average at every race — not something we’re all used to at the moment.
Thus, Scuderia Ferrari holds Marussia’s potential future success in the capable hands of their engine department. For 2014, Marussia will be using Ferrari engines, and they will be hoping to capitalize on the extra power, fuel efficiency and reliability of the new power units.
One would also assume that, providing they keep their current 10th place in the constructors’ standings, they will be able to utilize the extra cash to ensure they can keep up developments on the aerodynamic side of things.
All signs are pointing in the right direction for Marussia. The loss of Pat Symonds from their technical lineup while on the verge of such a drastic regulations overhaul next season will be disappointing, but there is no doubt that 2014 could be the year Marussia breaks into the elusive top-10.
They’re on the brink of scoring points in Formula One. Just a single point could be the difference in the team’s longevity in the sport. Here’s to a long and fruitful future for Marussia.