Meteor have revealed the Virgin-powered MM16 car they hope will propel the team from the back of the FV grid after their worst season to date.
Having united to headline-grabbing effect, the Meteor-Virgin partnership proved to be one the surprising stories of the year but hopes of a competitive 2016 have been reignited amid talk of a 'huge horsepower boost' from the engine suppliers.
Eschewing the populist appeal of maintaining to their classic neon blue livery from their previous alliances with Renault and Peugeot, the MM16 has been presented with a dark, sombre livery.
In keeping with their new car's circumspect appearance, the team have also declined to make any eye-catching predictions about their hopes for the new season.
"I'm not about to make any over-optimistic predictions - Formula Virtual is far too unpredictable for me to do that - but, from what I've seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks much better than last year," said Stuart Harrison, one half of Meteor’s driver line-up with Johan Halvosen which the team hailed as "one of the most exciting long-term young driver pairings".
But new arrival Cory Evans was noticeably more guarded on Meteor’s prospects in 2016 having only beaten FUN, Warrior and Ocelot in the 2015 Constructors' Championship.
”I’m not going to beat around the bush, we’ve just come off the back of a fairly lousy season – the worst in the teams history in fact – and that’s why I’ve been brought in, but we are optimistic about the upcoming season. It would be stupid of me to say we expect to challenge for wins and the championship this year, but we are expecting to be regularly in the points at least. Our data has been positive so far, and the car looks mega, so I can’t wait to see it on track in Estoril and finally get into my seat on the pit wall.”
The car will make its on-track debut in Estoril as part of four-day pre-season tests.
Testing has been described as a make-or-break trial for the MM16 by Halvosen after the Dane admitted Meteor’s lack of finance has severely limited the certainty of success, stating that: “We are going into this season very blind. We have a car developed and a hopefully a good engine. But we stopped developing after well fell into debt. I don’t know if we will be challenging for points straight away, and testing is no indicator of definite success, but I hope we are going in the right direction”.
Harrison remained coy over his potential for his partnership with Meteor this season, having been the only driver last year not to score a single point. “Last season could not have been any worse for myself or the team, and I am pleased I have been given the chance to prove myself. I can only do my best this season, and whether that is score points on a regular basis or just try to beat my teammate, I will do just that”.