Manor confirms switch to Mercedes power for 2016

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Manor Marussia Formula 1 Team has confirmed that it will switch to Mercedes power units for the 2016 season after the end of its deal with Ferrari.

Manor reached the grid in 2015 after emerging from the old Marussia F1 Team that collapsed towards the end of last season, and has been racing with 2014-spec Ferrari power units.

However, the team will use current-spec models in 2016 courtesy of Mercedes after the two parties agreed a multi-year deal that was announced on Thursday.

“Following the conclusion of a multi-year supply agreement, Manor Marussia F1 Team will race with Mercedes-Benz Hybrid power from the 2016 season onwards,” a statement confirmed. “Under the agreement, Manor Marussia F1 Team will be supplied with current-year Power Units throughout the term.”

Manor team principal John Booth was pleased to confirm the switch to Mercedes’ power, believing that this would only aid the team’s development at the back of the grid.

“I am delighted to announce our new Power Unit partnership with Mercedes-Benz for the 2016 season and beyond,” Booth said. “Although there were many factors governing our selection of an engine partner to help power us towards our long-term ambitions, ultimately the strength of the Mercedes-Benz package speaks for itself.

“2015 has been a rebuilding year in every aspect of our operation. Although we have not been able to make the incremental strides in competitiveness that the team has enjoyed in previous seasons, we have put in place a strong foundation from which to progress.

“Together with the potential we are seeing with our 2016 car in the wind tunnel, the Mercedes-Benz Power Unit will assist our return to aggressive performance development with effect from next season.”

Booth also confirmed that Manor will enjoy technical support from Williams in 2016 in the form of gearbox and suspension components.

“I am also pleased to announce that we will resume our prior technical partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, from whom we will receive the supply of transmission and suspension components,” Booth said.

“Combined with Mercedes-Benz Power Units, we are very excited about the strength of our new powertrain package and what it means for the long-term future of our team.”

As reported last week, Mercedes’ decision to power Manor comes in the wake of Renault’s decision to push through with its takeover of Lotus F1 Team, who had been powered by the German manufacturer in 2015.

“Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula 1 philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark Power Units to independent customer teams,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.

“We believe this approach provides Formula 1 with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field. In anticipation of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz.

“It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit.”

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
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Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2