Marussia blames Jean-Eric Vergne for costing it 10th in the 2012 Formula 1 constructors' championship.
The Frenchman collided with Marussia's Timo Glock early in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Although it was Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov's late pass on Marussia's Charles Pic for what became 11th place that technically allowed Caterham to vault its main rival to claim the lucrative 10th spot in the teams' standings, Glock was running strongly before his incident with Vergne.
The Toro Rosso driver made contact with Glock, who was running 12th, as they prepared for the safety car restart on lap 29. Marussia team principal Graeme Lowdon has no doubt that his squad would have stayed clear of Caterham in the points but for this incident.
"That's what destroyed our race," Lowdon fumed. "He just ran straight into the back of Timo and smashed Timo's car, certainly damaged the aero at the back, and gave him a puncture, but it wasn't obvious enough to come straight in so he had to do a whole lap on it.
"We were a country mile ahead of Caterham at that point. Through the first pit stops we got everything right. We got Timo a long way ahead in time before that safety car. That lost Timo the advantage, but he had still had a few cars between him and Petrov. And he clearly had the pace, because we were just driving away from them.
"It's not the first time we've been run into by a Toro Rosso, but this time it's ended up being incredibly costly."
Lowdon said the blow to morale was a greater wound than the loss of constructors' prize money.
"It's less financial, it's more the fact that everyone's worked really, really hard and got themselves into that position," he said. "We're going into an uncertain period – there is no Concorde Agreement, so you want to be as high up as you possibly can as we want to make sure that we're treated the same way all the other teams are treated.
"But for all the people on the team and back at Banbury [UK factory] who've worked so hard, it's frustrating when you can't deliver the result that you think everyone deserves. If we'd messed up, got the wrong strategy, if the drivers had made a mistake, then you could hold your hands up. But we did absolutely everything that we could.
"It seemed to be totally avoidable. You're not meant to hit another car when you're under safety car conditions. It's as simple as that."
Marussia still looked set to retain its position until Pic was overtaken by Petrov. Lowdon dismissed any suggestion that Caterham-bound Pic had made life easy for his 2013 employer.
"I'm sure he didn't," Lowdon insisted. "Nothing worse for him than going there after being overtaken by one of their drivers. He's got his professional pride to look after."