Marussia team principal John Booth has said that finishing in tenth place in the constructors’ championship was like winning a race to the entire team following a difficult season.
The team secured P10 in the championship in Brazil after nearest rivals Caterham failed to better Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March. Given that the team has trailed Caterham for the majority of the season, and that their last major upgrade package came at the Spanish Grand Prix back in May, Marussia has done well to stay ahead.
“It’s a massive boost to everybody,” Booth explained to Sky Sports. “It gives us confidence that we are going forward and is a real kick-start for next year.
“Morale is the biggest thing. If you’d seen the reaction of the guys afterwards, it was incredible, like we’d won the bloody race. I’m sure it was the same back in Banbury.”
Booth has now set his sights on making the team a regular presence in the second session of qualifying, having only managed to get into Q2 on one occasion in 2013.
“The next goal is getting into Q2 on a regular basis; that’s what we want to do and what we have to do. We’re less than one per cent off doing that now,” Booth said. “The first step is to improve that one per cent and start getting into Q2 on a regular basis. And then we can start thinking about points.”
With Ferrari replacing Cosworth as the team’s engine supplier in 2014, it will mark a big step forward for the team. The change in the regulations could also give Marussia a chance to get a jump on its rivals next season, but it will still be a big ask for either of the backmarkers to score their first points in Formula One anytime soon.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”