The Marussia Formula 1 team has been forced to delay the launch of their 2012 challenger, following a failed FIA crash test. The team's original plan was to debut the MR01 at the final pre-season test, which starts at the Circuit de Cataluña, in Barcelona, Spain, on 1 March.
However, in a statement released on Monday night, the team said: "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."
The Marussia team, which is essentially a rebranded Virgin Racing outfit (after Russian automobile manufacturer Marussia Motors bought into the team in 2010), is based in Banbury in the UK and will be making its Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix on 16 March. The team has signed a long-term technical partnership with the McLaren team and would have been hoping to provide both their cars and drivers (debutant Charles Pic in particular) with valuable track time ahead of the season's opening race.
The team did manage to participate in the earlier test session in Barcelona, using the 2011 Virgin car. Pic managed a best time of 1:27.343, which was over a second slower than his team mate Timo Glock's 1:26.173.