FIA clears Manor of regulation breach after Melbourne no-show

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The FIA stewards at the Australian Grand Prix have cleared Manor Marussia F1 Team of breaching the Formula 1 sporting regulations after it failed to take part in any of this weekend’s sessions at Albert Park.

Following a turbulent winter, Manor managed to secure a place on the grid in 2015 thanks to fresh investment, allowing the team to run a reduced operation in Australia.

Despite flying some 20 tonnes of cargo to Melbourne, Manor failed to field either of its cars in practice or qualifying for the race, meaning that it was forbidden from lining up on the grid on Sunday.

On Saturday, the FIA stewards issued a statement requesting an explanation from Manor:

“A team representative is required to report to the Stewards at 20:00. The Stewards request that you provide a written statement explaining why the team did not participate in Qualifying for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix after receiving a letter from the FIA on the 20th February.”

The team was accused of breaching article 13.2(f) of the sporting regulations, which state that there is “an undertaking by the applicant to participate in every Event with the number of cars and drivers entered.”

Manor responded to the stewards’ letter with a full explanation of its activities in Melbourne, making clear that it did everything in its power to reach the grid.

On Sunday after the race, the stewards responded by issuing a statement that confirmed the team had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The statement reads as follows:

“Having considered all available material, the Stewards determined that there had not been a breach of Article 13.2 (f), on the basis that the team had:

1. Attended the event
2. Brought a significant quantity of material and equipment with it
3. Produced all required documents for checking
4. Taken part in Scrutineering and its 2 cars were eligible to compete
5. Brought sufficient staff to prepare the cars for competition
6. Continued to work and do all within its ability to enable the 2 cars to compete
7. Prepared the cars to a state where they were mechanically complete
8. Would not have been able to achieve a software configuration that allowed the 2 cars to the be operated in Practice or Qualifying sessions, even if they had worked outside curfew requirements.

Therefore the Stewards accepted that the team explained it had used all reasonable endeavours to ensure that its cars were able to compete in active competition, therefore the Stewards take no further action during the event.”

With most of Manor Marussia’s assets being sold over the winter, the team is effectively running as a shell operation for the time being. Most within the paddock expect the cars to get out on track for the first time at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi (pictured) being the team’s designated drivers for 2015.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”