Marussia has become the latest team to run into problems with its 2012 car, the Russian-backed team tonight announcing that its new MR01 has failed the final FIA crash test and as a result forced it out of this week’s final pre-season test.
The Banbury-based outfit had been hoping to roll out the first car to be built in-house in time for the start of Thursday’s four-day test, having run with last year’s machine during the first Barcelona test last week. However, those plans have now been scuppered following news that the MR01 has failed the 18th and final crash test mandated by Formula 1’s governing body before a car can run in an official group test.
A statement released by Marussia tonight confirmed: “The Marussia F1 Team is disappointed to confirm that the planned first test of its 2012 race car – the MR01 – has been delayed as a consequence of not passing the final FIA crash test. All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted. Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running commences.
“The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later this week (1-4 March) and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash test at the end of the week.”
With Marussia now hoping to get the chassis homologated by the end of the week, it raises the strong likelihood that, with just a further week to go before teams ship their cars and equipment out to Australia for the first race on March 18, the squad will go into the first Friday practice sessions of the year without any significant track testing with the new car. That is particularly bad news for its rookie driver Charles Pic, who already only has two days of track testing behind him in the 2011 car this year.
It’s a situation rivals HRT have found themselves in over each of its previous two seasons in the sport and the Spanish squad has again failed to test its latest car to date during this pre-season after failing two crash tests itself, although the team is now believed to have cleared the remaining hurdles and are therefore at least officially cleared to test at Barcelona.
Lotus’ chassis problems have proved somewhat more surprising given the team’s F1 pedigree, the Enstone-based outfit forced to abandon its programme last week at the Circuit de Catalunya after just seven laps in wake of a failure of the new second chassis.