The Manor Marussia F1 Team is pressing ahead with its plans to make the 2015 grid, releasing a statement confirming its aim to appear at next month’s season opening Australian Grand Prix. The team has also announced that British driver Will Stevens will pilot one of its cars.
The team had looked set to fold after being placed into administration and was forced to miss the final three races of the 2014 season, but it has seemingly made remarkable gains in recent weeks.
The outfit’s administration woes were eased when it was moved into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) earlier this month, however its ambitions were thrown into doubt when an application to compete with its 2014 car design was rejected by the F1 Strategy Group, made up of the top six-placed rival teams.
Despite not receiving the unanimous backing it needed from the Strategy Group, the team earned support of the FIA, which confirmed that it would keep the provisional entry list open as long as possible to allow the team to make a comeback to the grid. The team must return by no later than the Bahrain Grand Prix to avoid a forfeiture of its competitive license.
A statement released by the team confirmed its full intention to appear at the Melbourne season-opener with a car – believed to be an updated version of its 2014 car, before a 2015-spec car is developed by Bahrain – in an “advanced stage of build”. The team has already secured a verbal agreement from Ferrari for the use of the Italian carmaker’s 2014-spec power units.
“The approval by the Company’s creditors on 19 February 2015 to a Company Voluntary Arrangement paves the way for the team to exit from administration and since that time everyone involved with Manor has been working flat out on the key components of its 2015 challenge,” the statement reads.
“The car with which Manor will begin the season is now in an advanced stage of build at the team’s current race preparation facility in Dinnington, UK, where personnel are working 24-7 towards the air freight despatch date of 6 March.
“As the sport counts down to the curtain-raising 2015 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in 18 days’ time, Manor is now in a position to be able to provide regular updates on its preparations for Melbourne and wider plans for the season, including the completion of its driver line-up.”
The team also confirmed that its former reserve driver Stevens – who made his one and only race start with the ailing Caterham team at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – would pilot one of its cars. The identity of the Englishman’s teammate would be announced soon, the team added.
“It’s very exciting to see everything coming together at Manor after the tremendous effort that has gone into saving the team,” a delighted Stevens added.
“It would not have been possible without the incredible support we have received from all the suppliers and from within the sport, but most of all the fantastic team of people at Manor who are working around the clock to ensure we are ready for Melbourne.
“My thanks to the team for their confidence in me and I can’t wait to see all the hard work rewarded when we line up on the grid in two weeks’ time.”
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