Formula 1 backmarkers Marussia are hoping that their newly-announced Ferrari engine deal starting in 2014 will help to convince would-be backers that they mean business and are in the sport for the long haul.
“It’s got to help, and the other thing is [that] there is now certainty,” team principal John Booth told Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday.
“Whilst we didn’t have an engine supplier there was uncertainty, which is difficult to go to market with that hanging over your head. It’s great news for us and gives us a real boost for next year.”
The Russian-registered team announced last week that they had agreed a long-term technical deal with the Italian company to use their engines and full powertrain when the sport switches to new V6 turbocharged units next season.
British-based Marussia are competing this season with engines provided by Cosworth, who are leaving F1 altogether.
On the same day, it was announced that their main technical consultant Pat Symonds was leaving to join former champions Williams.
That departure was seen as a boost for Williams and a blow for Marussia but Booth said the procedures introduced by Symonds – a title winner as engineering head of Michael Schumacher’s Benetton and Fernando Alonso’s Renault – would carry on and his exit would have little impact on next year’s car.
“The design team hasn’t changed, the infrastructure hasn’t changed, the process hasn’t changed,” said the Yorkshireman, speaking next to a red London double-decker bus parked by the side of the track as part of a British trade initiative in eastern Europe.
“The 2014 car won’t be impacted by Pat’s departure. 2015 is what we need to think about and how we are going to achieve that,” he added.
“He did bring the correct process. We don’t have a shotgun approach to bringing developments to the car. They are proven before they come to the circuit and that will stay in place.”
Booth said that Marussia would not be rushing to name a replacement and the team had the experience and skills to continue as they were.
The principal said that the team would like to keep the pairing of Briton Max Chilton and Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who has ties with Ferrari, next season but that would depend on various factors.
Marussia have the smallest budget of the 11 teams and have never made any secret of requiring their drivers to bring backing or commercial benefits.
“We don’t intend to leave our decision as late as we did for this year. We’re hoping to be a bit more comfortable for this year,” said Booth. (Reuters)
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