Marussia's new MR02 Formula 1 car is a "massive" technical step forward, according to team boss John Booth, but the squad is trying to keep its expectations in check.
The 2013 design is the first created completely under Marussia's revised technical structure, under which it has taken its technical program entirely in-house using the facilities of its former partner Wirth Research. As part of this change, it also began using windtunnel technology, eschewing its formative all-CFD philosophy.
"I think it is our first real baby," Booth said as the MR02 was unveiled. "In my '400 years' of motorsport I've learned to not have too many expectations. Technically it is a massive step forward; performance wise we will just have to wait and see."
Pat Symonds is now able to move fully into the role of Marussia technical chief, having previously served as a consultant during his ban from F1 for his involvement in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix Renault crash scandal.
"We have our technical director at the circuit now, which is a good step for us as well," said Booth. "It is three years since Pat has been at a circuit but it is like he has never been away."
Booth (LEFT) admitted that even with its new technical approach, Marussia is still firmly an underdog, but he hopes the team can start progressing up the grid this season.
"We are not kidding ourselves – F1 is pretty tricky and we've turned this car out with 165 people. We should be really proud of that," he said. "But we shouldn't put our expectations against Red Bull, who have 500 people and four times the budget.
"It's same as I have said for three years: The target is to get into Q2 on merit, and then you can really start playing from there and going for points."
He also denied that potentially having an all-rookie driver lineup would be a problem following Timo Glock's departure. Luiz Razia is tipped to join fellow GP2 graduate Max Chilton, though no deal has been completed so far.
"It is not as it was 10 or 15 years ago," said Booth. "The young drivers start when they are six years old in karting, and Max has had two years of GP2, three or four years of F3. He is a novice to F1 but not a novice driver."