The Manor Marussia F1 Team’s miraculous return from the brink of closure will not have its fairytale chapter this weekend, with the outfit confirming that it will not participate in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The news is no great surprise, given the team’s comeback from being placed into administration was confirmed mere weeks ago. With no pre-season testing and a skeleton crew, that the team even made it to Melbourne is a miracle in itself and was one of the few good news stories in a week dominated by off-field politics.
Its mechanics and engineers have spent much of the week unpacking, assembling and submitting its modified one-year-old cars for FIA scrutineering, as well as updating its internal software to run its Ferrari-powered cars.
While the chassis’ themselves passed scrutineering from the FIA, the governing body has insisted that its one-year-old Ferrari engines be configured with 2015-spec software that features additional safety cut-offs stipulated in the safety regulations following Jules Bianchi’s crash last year.
An added complication for the team was the fact that of all of its hard drives were wiped before the planned auction of the team’s assets that was subsequently cancelled when a rescue deal was arranged.
With the two cars still in various stages of assembly, neither Roberto Merhi nor teammate Will Stevens completed any running, and the team confirmed it will not attempt to get dispensation to race tomorrow if, by some miracle, it could get the cars ready overnight.
The team’s focus is now on getting itself ready for the second round of the season, the Malaysian Grand Prix, in less than a fortnight’s time.
“The cars and the systems are incredibly complicated and what’s been achieved in an incredibly short space of time – the company only came out of administration two weeks ago – has really been tremendous,” Manor Marussia President & Sporting Director, Graeme Lowdon, said in Friday’s FIA Press Conference.
“We’re racers and we want to race. That’s what we want to do. There’s nothing that we’re doing that would possibly slow the process down.
“We want to be on the track as quick as we possibly can. As far as taking time to do a test or something like that, that would have been great but it was just impossible in the time that was available.
“We’ll keep pushing as hard as we can, together with all of our partners and I’m pretty sure we’ll be there sooner or later and then we can just move forward.”
The team can technically miss four Grands Prix over the course of the season before it risks having its racing license invalidated by the FIA, but given it can argue it has made ‘all reasonable endeavours’ to participate this weekend, it will not fall foul with officialdom this time.
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