Manor in “advanced discussion” with drivers over second seat

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Manor Marussia F1 Team is close to confirming its second driver for its comeback at the Australian Grand Prix on March 15, according to team president Graeme Lowdon.

After falling into administration following last year’s Russian Grand Prix, the team has made a remarkable comeback and will now compete in next weekend’s season-opener in Melbourne.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that the Manor car had passed all of the FIA crash tests and the cargo has now set off for Australia, but the identity of its second driver is still unknown.

Manor confirmed last week that British driver Will Stevens would be filling one of the seats for 2015 after making his F1 debut for Caterham in Abu Dhabi last November.

Speaking to Reuters, Lowdon (pictured) said that the team was close to confirming its second driver for the year, with a number of candidates being considered.

“We are in discussion, very detailed and very advanced discussion, with some very quick young guys,” Lowdon said.

“Manor has always had a history of bringing some great driving talent on to the grid and we really want to try and continue that. There are some young, quick guys around.”

Some of the names linked to the Manor drive include ex-Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde, McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne and GP2 race winner Johnny Cecotto Jr.

Despite the timeframe being quite tight, Lowdon explained that Manor would need to find the right kind of driver to fit in with its comeback in 2015.

“What we are looking for is a quick driver and with the right temperament to have the challenges that they are going to have in a small team facing this kind of comeback,” he said.

“It’s not a straightforward decision, but hopefully one we can make very soon.”

The official deadline for Manor naming its second driver is Thursday 12th March ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, when the entry list for the race weekend is released by the FIA.