Russian automaker Marussia hasn’t had the kind of success it initially expected when they made the jump to Formula One racing.
The team hopes to change all that with the introduction of their 2013 F1 racer, the MR02.
Representing a comprehensive evolution of the 2012 car, the MR02 received a host of new changes that has put the onus on the team to be more competitive than they’ve ever been in the racing series. The chassis, for one, carries a number of elements that are new, allowing the car to handle the rigors of hardcore racing to the fullest. That in itself is a victory for the MR02, considering its predecessor had a hard time just staying on the track last season.
The biggest change to the MR02, though, is the addition of the KERS system, which is making its debut on a Marussia race car. With the installation of the KERS system, team engineers had to work double and triple time to integrate the system while also reducing the overall weight of the carbon chassis and redesigning the body to accommodate new signatures to the car. The new side pod design and the more aggressive Coanda-style exhaust are also key improvements for the MR02, all of which we’re made while under pressure to still meet mandatory FIA crash tests.
As for its engine, the MR02 will still be powered by Cosworth’s CA2013K engine and mated to a modified seven-speed Xtrac longitudinally mounted aluminum transmission. Marussia’s partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies is also a boon for the MR02, with the latter providing tools - a wind tunnel and simulator being two of them - that Marussia can make good use of to continue development of the MR02.
It’s not the most powerful setup in the grid by any stretch of the imagination, but for a team like Marussia that hasn’t been around Formula One all that long, all the modifications given to the MR02 will go a long way to making them a lot more competitive in the grid.
Just weeks ago, Spanish F1 driver Maria de Villota was in a horrific crash during testing of her new Marussia MR-01 racecar. In fact, it was her first test drive ever and the injuries were apparently very serious. The only injury we were made aware of initially was the fact that she lost an eye.
Fortunately, the injuries were not so severe to put her life in direct risk, as it was just announced that she was released from the hospital. There was some speculation that Maria would require brain surgery, but following some testing, it was found that there wasn’t any damage that would require this risky surgery.
Though she will not spend any more time in the hospital, physicians will continue to monitor her at home to assure that her recovery stays on schedule. She will be undergoing surgery to repair damage done to her face during the accident, so we wish her the best in the rest of her recovery and her future plastic surgery.
Marussia has also officially chalked the crash up as a combination of several driver errors. The first error was that she was unable to find the clutch lever, which was in an unexpected position because the wheel was not centered. Also, when she came into the pits, de Villota forgot to press the neutral button to keep the car out of gear. These are all freak lapses that most F1 drivers remember almost instinctively, but while testing a new car, these steps can sometimes be forgotten.
On an aside, Maria will likely have to take significant time off, as the FIA does not issue international licenses for five years following the loss of an eye. This give the brain time to adjust using just a single eye.
Our best wishes go out to Maria de Villota and we hope for a speedy recovery.
At the time of the event, Marussia stated: “At approximately 09.15 BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team’s MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck. Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”
Fortunately for De Villota, her medical condition has been assessed and she is thankfully no longer sedated and communicating freely with those around her. Unfortunately, however, De Villota suffered major facial injuries during the crash and the team also confirmed that surgeons were unable to save her right eye. In addition to this news, Marussia concluded through its in depth discussions that the accident was not caused by any mechanical fault in the car.
Marussia team principal John Booth stated, “We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident. We have now concluded our investigatory work and can again focus on the priority, which continues to be Maria’s well-being.”
A third-party investigation team has also been contracted by Marussia to delve even deeper into any possible cause of the crash, and the results from that investigation are expected in the coming months.
In what’s been a very sad day for the automotive industry after the passing of Sergio Pininfarina, it’s also been confirmed that female Formula One test driver, Maria De Villota,has been gravely injured in a crash while testing with the Marussia team.
In what was her very first test in the Marussia car, Villota has suffered life-threatening injuries when the MR-01 racer she was testing plowed into a support truck for the team at high-speed. As a result, Villota sustained massive head-injuries and was rushed to hospital.
In an official statement regarding this extremely sad and unfortunate event, Marrusia stated, “At approximately 09.15 BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team’s MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck. Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”
It’s currently unclear how the crash occurred, but it’s possible there was a problem with the accelerator pedal and the throttle was pinned to the ground, although that’s just speculation. We’d be very surprised if a racer of Villota’s caliber would make a mistake like this while still in the pit area.
It’s also unclear if Villota was conscious immediately following the impact or not, but either way this really is a tragedy and we wish Villota all the best with her immediate health and eventual recovery.
The Marussia B2 is the company’s second supercar and was built as an evolution of the B1 - Russia’s first supercar. This second coming continues the same impressive technologies of the B1, but is distinguished by a more powerful face and a unique interior. Marussia only created 500 units of this impressive model, with prices starting from $130,460.
The Marussia B2 will be offered with either a 2.8 liter V6 turbo engine or a naturally aspirated 3.5 liter V6 engine with power ranging from 300 to 420 HP. With these engines, the supercar can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and continue on to a top speed nearing 190mph.
"The B2 is an overt expression of our capabilities and ambition. Using the same exceptionally light and strong chassis structure combined with Marussia-Cosworth power units, the B2 allows our designers and our customers to explore their wilder side."
UPDATE 05/08/2012: Just 500 units were planned from the start and less than 12 months after hitting the market, all 500 units have already been ordered and in order to fill all of these orders, Marussia and Valmet (the firm producing the B2) have decided to shift production from Marussia’s headquarters in Moscow to Valmet in Finland, which also produces the Fisker Karma.
With the B2 having received such a warm reception, it’s likely that Marussia is currently developing its successor, possibly named the ‘B3’.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Marussia B2.