Marussia MR03 breaks cover at JerezLaurence Edmondson January 30, 2014 « Red Bull's testing problems continue at Jerez | Red Bull cuts another day of Jerez test short »
Marussia MR03 has hit the track for the first time at Jerez, leaving the garage at 15:00 with Max Chilton at the wheel.
The team opted to spend the start of the week fixing a problem at the factory before transporting it to Jerez where it arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi remain at the team for another year and team principal John Booth is hoping the new car will give the team the opportunity to start attacking the midfield teams after four years as backmarkers.
"We have to temper the fact that there are a great many unknowns this season with the fact that we are, by nature, a highly ambitious team that is always demanding more of itself," Booth said. "The target is to keep moving forward and that means being in a position where we no longer have to focus on the threat from behind and, instead, take the fight to the teams ahead. It is very early days to be speculating about relative performance though and that is something we can perhaps only speak with confidence about in Australia in 45 days' time."
Chief Designer John McQuilliam gave some background to the car's design process.
"Through the course of 2012 we analysed every single element of the car - from the tip of the nose to the trailing edge of the rear wing - knowing just how radically different the MR03 would be under such sweeping Technical Regulations. We have benefitted enormously from the stability of our design teams, with the same personnel beginning - and now concluding - the process over a 24 month period. I think we can feel justifiably proud of the way we have responded to such a significant challenge and the quality of car we have arrived at with the MR03.
"The car has been manufactured and finished to a very high standard, whilst achieving our most significant weight-saving targets to date and, importantly, with a crucial eye towards maintaining our excellent record of reliability.
"Without doubt, the greatest design challenge has been in terms of cooling, yet this is one of a few areas where we are not only very pleased with the design response, but also the degree of innovation we have achieved with our solution.
"All-new front and rear suspension layouts are a product of the new aerodynamic regulations placing greater emphasis on mechanical performance, with the mechanical systems now having far greater real road relevance."
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1