Marussia is likely to use Ferrari turbo engines next season when the new regulations come in, according to the team’s technical director Pat Symonds.
From 2014, the current 2.4 litre V8s will be dropped in favour of 1.6 litre V6s. Marussia’s current engine supplier Cosworth is pulling out of the sport at the end of the season, which will leave just Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes.
“Cosworth has decided it can’t find any commercial justification for building an engine [for 2014] so we have to look elsewhere,” said Symonds in the latest edition of the JA on F1 podcast.
“There will be only three suppliers next year – Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari – and while we have spoken to all of them, I think we are rapidly heading in the direction of Ferrari. We need to head in a direction rapidly because we really need to sign a supply agreement with someone quite soon – and Ferrari, at the moment, are top of that list.”
The team already have a relationship with Ferrari as they run one of their academy drivers – F1 rookie Jules Bianchi – alongside Max Chilton.
“I think Jules is a quality driver,” added Symonds. “It’s not a coincidence he is a Ferrari Academy driver. It’s very good to be working with Ferrari and helping develop one of their drivers. That said, I don’t want to give him up to Ferrari. I hope he stays with us for a while.”
Symonds, who played a key role in Benetton and Renault’s world championships with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso respectively, joined Marussia as a consultant in 2011 before moving into the role of technical director.
The team are in their fourth season in Formula 1, having finished 12th, 12th and 11th overall in the championship standings, and have yet to score a point.
However, they have made a step forward this season, including adding Kers to the car which is worth around 0.3 seconds a lap, and are currently 10th in the constructors’ ahead of rivals Caterham.
“I came in as a consultant to look at the way Marussia could progress, so I would like to take a long term view,” added Symonds. “As we’re so small it’s quite difficult but I’m pleased with where we have got to this year.
“We are by far and away the most improved team on the grid. If you look at lap times between this year and last year, we are just way ahead of everyone else in terms of improvement. That is gratifying because it is still early days.”
To listen to the full interview with Pat Symonds, including his thoughts on the team’s drivers Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi, make sure you listen to the May edition of the JA on F1 podcast available to download via the iTunes store or directly here.