Manor Marussia F1 Team’s racing comeback did not go entirely to plan during practice for the Australian Grand Prix as neither Will Stevens nor Roberto Merhi managed to complete a single lap on Friday.
Marussia appeared to be dead and buried after its financial collapse in the wake of the Russian Grand Prix in October 2014, with assets sold and redundancies made.
However, a remarkable turn of events and an injection of fresh investment as allowed the team to rise again and return to F1 in 2015 as Manor Marussia F1 Team.
Manor has arrived in Melbourne still trying to find its feet, and reportedly has just one front wing at the track between its two cars.
On Friday, the team was unable to complete a single lap in the three hours of practice running, simply stating: “Given the complexities involved in returning to the racetrack, they were unable to run in either of today’s free practice sessions.”
Team principal John Booth explained how these problems were to be expected given that the car has not been tested, but underlined the team’s commitment to try and get out on track as soon as possible.
“We have had to overcome numerous hurdles to get to the Australian Grand Prix, but the challenge did not end with our arrival here in Melbourne,” Booth said. “This is effectively our first day of testing, and as we all know that is a less than straightforward experience for any team.
“The systems required to operate these cars are incredibly complex and this is the first time we have been able to begin the process of getting all the various elements of our operation and car package talking to each other. Only when that happens can you start to troubleshoot the various issues that every team encounters when you look to field a car for the first time.
“We are steadily working through that checklist and while it is disappointing that we haven’t been able to get the cars out in today’s free practice sessions, we are racers and will do our utmost to compete for all our fans and the people supporting us.”
Sporting director Graeme Lowdon (pictured) remained coy when asked whether the team would be able to get out on track this weekend, saying that the team is tackling each of its problems one by one.
“We literally have to deal with the problems one at a time and I think as we steadily get through them we’ll be able to put a little bit more accuracy on any kind of prediction,” Lowdon said. “At the moment it’s quite difficult to predict as you have binary problems – things are either going to work or they’re not going to work.
“But what I’m confident about is that we are not seeing anything that’s unusual, just things that have to be dealt with in a very short space of time and also once these problems are solved we wouldn’t expect to see them again.”
By simply turning up in Melbourne and passing scrutineering, Manor has ensured that it will receive its share of the 2014 prize money, making the trip worthwhile. However, it will be pushing to reward its fans and complete its comeback at some point this weekend by getting the car out on track tomorrow during practice or qualifying.