Manor “over the moon” with Stevens and Merhi

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Manor Marussia F1 Team founder John Booth is “over the moon” with drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi following a solid start to the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Formerly known as Marussia F1 Team, Manor bounced back from the operation’s near-collapse at the end of the 2014 season to return to the grid at the beginning of 2015.

As two rookie drivers in an uncompetitive car, little has been expected from either Stevens or Merhi, but Booth is delighted with their performances so far this season.

“We threw two rookies in with no pre-season testing and missing the first race altogether, and just to expect them to perform – which they have done – they’ve done an outstanding job,” Booth told the official Formula 1 website.

“I think we’re over the moon with both drivers. Up until now we’ve given them a car that’s not been easy to drive and the engine must be at least 1-1.5 seconds slower than the best engine on the grid. We haven’t made their lives easy.”

Given the pace of the Manor car, Stevens and Merhi only have each other to battle with on track. However, their fight has been one of the most intriguing between teammates, with the scoreboard currently reading 4-4 between the pair.

“They started getting very competitive a few races ago, but they seem to have had conversations themselves about how they want to conduct themselves on track,” Booth said of Stevens and Merhi’s battle.

“They’re both very intelligent guys, and they know each other very well of course. I think they’re developing into a strong team now.”

Merhi is known to be at a disadvantage due to his extra height and weight, but the Spaniard appears to be adjusting accordingly to get the edge on Stevens in recent races.