A few nuggets of good news from the Marussia team this week in a Q&A with technical adviser Pat Symonds. Pat told F1.com that the team will be using the Williams KERS unit in 2013 and that they will continue with Cosworth engines. Symonds said:
Q: We understand you are planning to implement KERS. Who will supply that and how readily will you be able to adapt the package?
PS: Yes we will be using KERS next year. We plan to adopt the system that has been developed by Williams, which was used by them with the Cosworth engine last year and is currently with their Renault-engine car. Our 2013 unit is a development of this. We've been very impressed with the engineering, the efficiency and the weight. Williams are also a pleasure to work with both technically and commercially.
On one side of the coin, the lack of KERS was considered a real hinderance to Team Caterham F1 and this year they have been running the Red Bull KERS system but while the team may know the gains they've made from deploying KERS in 2012, as a fan, the results look incremental at best. Team Caterham F1's boss, Tony Fernandes, said:
"We have not scored our first point yet, and we have much more work to do to chip away at that gap to the pack ahead, which is now less than one second," he explained.
"It is fair to say we are disappointed with where we are, as I am sure many people who follow us are," he explained.
"However, the belief that we can achieve what we have set out to is what drives us on and we have to remember that just 35 months ago we did not even exist.
Heading into 2012, we considered the use of KERS would possibly allow Team Caterham F1 to make a much needed surge in the performance category but they still remain adrift of Toro Rosso. One has to be cautious in thinking that Marussia will experience the types of gains that would have them emerging from the back of the grid.
On the other side of the coin, Marussia has to remain competitive and if KERS is worth 7/10′s of the mid-field's pace and the team can afford the system, then they have to use it. Ultimately the team are focused on aerodynamics (no surprise there) and have used their first wind tunnel developed upgrade to some success according to Symonds.
The other factor is Cosworth. The team are continuing with the engine maker and we've been discussing the longevity of the supplier in Formula One into the 2014 season with the new engine regulations. Symonds said:
Q: What is your powertrain plan for 2013?
PS: We will continue with the Cosworth engine. We are happy with the work we are doing with them and I think that we are working together to try and improve the areas that we are able to under the regulations. We are concentrating on improving the driveability of the engine and enhancing its performance as a unit with the car.
As a fan of the team, I hope the insight and work that Symonds is doing will help them claw their way off the back of the grid. In the end, it's all about resources and the team seems sparse in this area so massive aero development is not likely but perhaps the best news is that the team are, indeed, planning on participating in the 2013 season.