The Marussia F1 Team delivered another outstanding performance in São Paulo today to finish in 12th and 16th positions, but with the many twists and turns of a generally fascinating season finale conspiring against them, they lost 10th place in the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Constructors' Championship at the eleventh hour.
The Team were in excited but apprehensive mood as race day got underway at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos. In drying conditions after an early morning shower, they performed one final pitstop practice to maximise their focus on what was likely to be a challenging race ahead and the engineering team continued to work through a variety of possible strategic scenarios.
Heading into the race, the heavens opened, as was forecast, and every second of the careful preparation was brought to bear. Timo Glock got an excellent start and was running as high as 7th at one point, but he was hit from behind by Vergne and his advantage was lost. All hopes were riding on Charles Pic, who fought hard from the front of that pack, but he lost position with just seven laps remaining.
Timo Glock: "There isn't much we can say really; the result speaks for itself and we were just not lucky today. It is a crying shame for everyone associated with the Team as we have all worked so hard together to come this far. It's so sad to lose 10th like this because we were right on it and we had everything lined up to stay ahead of the other guys. Unfortunately, Vergne crashed into the back of my car and destroyed the race for me because it was right at the restart and I had to pit under the green flag. I went straight to the back of the field and worked hard from there, but there was very little we could do. Further up of course, it just shows how it can all turn on a knife-edge in these conditions. I think it is important to look back at the whole picture because 10th place is lost but no one can take away from us what we have built at this team. We have to stay as strong and motivated as possible and get over this quickly because we have shown everyone what we can achieve when luck is not a factor. Next year with KERS we will be even better. My thanks to my car crew and the whole team, who are all feeling so very disappointed right now. We will be back for sure. Finally, congratulations to Sebastian (Vettel) for winning the Championship and my best wishes to Michael (Schumacher) for the future."
Charles Pic: "Although the outcome is disappointing, I think today was one of my best races for the Team. Our strategy was the right one and I pushed very hard the whole race. The conditions were not easy; it was very slippery but the car was quite well-balanced and we put up the best possible fight. In the end, we just lost out unfortunately. My thanks to everyone in the Team for a fantastic debut season in F1. We have fought so hard all year and I wish the Team the very best next season."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Today is an emotional day for everyone involved with the Marussia F1 Team. 10th place has eluded us after such a long fight and, naturally, 'disappointed' doesn't even come close. 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.
"As everyone knows, we had a tough start to the year and we were unable to complete very much at all in the way of pre-season testing. Notwithstanding a difficult debut for the MR01, we were able to hold on to 10th place in the Constructors' Championship for the first five races, before it slipped from our grasp in Monaco. By the mid-point of the season, we had caught up with ourselves in terms of our development strategy and the upgrades we introduced at Silverstone were the first iteration of wind tunnel-tested components with the MR01. We never really looked back from that point and with each new race we were making steps forward - large and small.
"Much has been made of closing the gap to Caterham, but at the same time we have reduced the delta to the mid-field and the front of the field. For example, in Australia the gap between our own fastest lap and the winner's fastest lap was 4.5%, whilst in the closing stages of the season we have reduced that to 2.5% - again, without KERS. So if we reflect on our big picture, it is even more encouraging than may have been apparent.
"I would like to thank the whole team back at base and trackside, including our engine supplier Cosworth, for a huge push. The same must be said of our drivers Timo and Charles; Charles of course we say goodbye to today. Our sincere appreciation also to our Partners, Investors and Suppliers for sharing the journey this season. Here's to 2013, the advantage of KERS and some very encouraging signs that things can only get better for us."
Check out our Grand Prix gallery, here.