While the lights shine brightly at the Red Bull end of the pit lane, a dark cloud has obscured and otherwise good season for Marussia. The little team that could was leading Caterham F1 in the constructor’s championship and looked set to secure the final money-paying position of 10th…that was until Vitaly Petrov showed up in Brazil.
In the waning laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, Marussia’s Charles Pic was passed by Vitaly Petrov for 12th place and with the retirement of Force India’s Paul di Resta, the team secured a crucial 11th in the race giving them the coveted 10th position in the Constructor’s Championship. The loss means millions of dollars in prize money to the team and for Caterham, it could mean the retention of Heikki Kovalainen as a paid driver but time will tell just how the team will spend the money and if Heikki will return for 2013. With Petrov’s sponsorship backing and crucial move in Sunday’s race that gave them the 10th place, one might wonder if his long-term prospects at the team are also more secure heading into the off season.
A dejected team boss, John Booth, told reporters:
“Today is an emotional day for everyone involved with the Marussia team. Tenth place has eluded us after such a long fight and, naturally, ‘disappointed’ doesn’t even come close,” said Booth.
“We made all the right calls and our strategy worked out perfectly, but in the end we lost out due to factors beyond our control. Here’s to 2013, the advantage of KERS and some very encouraging signs that things can only get better for us.”
Booth said their strategy was right but fate and circumstances beyond their control cost them the position. A few conspiracy tweets began immediately after the race as Charles Pic, the Marussia driver passed for the 10th position, is moving to Caterham for 2013 in an announcement earlier this week. His misfortune will certainly benefit him as he settles in to Caterham for 2013.