Manor Marussia F1 Team’s remarkable comeback story took something of a hit in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix today after neither of its drivers managed to post a lap time quick enough to earn a place on the starting grid.
However, the FIA stewards have decided to grant the team permission to race on Sunday after deeming it to have displayed a capable pace during practice earlier in the weekend.
The Formula 1 sporting regulations state that in order to qualify for a grand prix, all drivers must finish with a lap that is within 107% of the quickest time in Q1.
Roberto Merhi led Manor’s charge in qualifying, posting a fastest lap time of 1:46.677 to finish just four-tenths of a second outside of the 107% time. His teammate, Will Stevens, failed to leave the garage after a fuel system problem during FP3.
“We were hoping to make the 107% time today, and that is what we have been pushing for through the weekend,” Merhi said after the session. “Unfortunately we missed out by 0.4s in the end.
“In the three sessions Will has shown that the car is thereabouts on pace, while I had a spin in FP3 today so, along with yesterday, I have not been able to achieve the consistent running I wanted to for the team.
“Coming into this, our first weekend on track, we were aware that we have a lot of hard work to do and that this is just the start. So although we are disappointed for the qualifying result, we have to keep focus on what we have achieved to be here and to be able to begin our development.”
Team principal John Booth made no secret of his own disappointment, but always knew that the team’s first weekend of running would be a challenging one.
“We knew our first weekend of running would not be without its challenges and although we had a positive day yesterday, it has been important to keep our expectations for qualifying in check,” Booth said.
“Our two drivers have done a solid job in their debut and Friday’s practice showed promise in terms of having the pace for the 107% time, but today underlined that we have a lot of work to do.”
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET tomorrow.