Manor passes final crash tests ahead of Australian GP

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Manor Marussia F1 Team has passed the final FIA crash tests ahead of the 2015 Formula 1 season, clearing the last hurdle to take part in next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The ex-Marussia operation has enjoyed a remarkable comeback and revival over the winter, which will culminate in its return to racing in Melbourne on March 15.

With a number of its assets being sold off after the company fell into administration, the team is now operating out of a downsized facility, but has managed to produce a car that complies with the 2015 regulations thanks to fresh investment.

Via its official Twitter account, Manor confirmed today that it has passed all of the FIA crash tests with its car for the 2015 season, meaning that it can make the grid for the first race of the season in 10 days’ time.

The team is set to run a 2014-spec car with modifications to bring it inline with the new technical regulations initially this year. A 2015 model will then be introduced at a later point in the season.

Manor has confirmed that British driver Will Stevens will take one of the seats in 2015, with the second still being deliberated by the management at Dinnington.

Stevens completed his seat fitting in the new car on Thursday, with the freight for the Australian Grand Prix flying out of the UK on Friday.

The 2015 F1 season kicks off in Australia on March 15.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”