Constructors Championship: 9th
Pole positions: 0
Points finishes: 1
The Manor Marussia F1 Team has faced a whirlwind in the last six months. Entering administration in October, it looked like the team had taken part in their last Formula One race at the Russian Grand Prix. However in the last few weeks the unlikely has happened and the team have arrived in Melbourne for the first race of the season.
Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will race for the team. Manor have also introduced Jordan King as development driver. Stevens took part in the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Caterham last year and finished in 17th position. So, while he has one bit of Formula One race experience both drivers are essentially rookies as Manor enter the new chapter of their existence. They entered the sport as Virgin Racing in 2010 – along with the now defunct HRT and Caterham teams – before becoming Marussia Virgin in 2011 and dropping Virgin altogether for 2012 onwards. Last season saw them achieve their best championship position as they ended the year ninth despite missing the last three races.
The ninth place finish was all thanks to Jules Bianchi’s jubilant ninth place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix which resulted in two points for the team. He actually finished eighth in the race but a five second penalty was applied post race due to a safety car infringement dropping him down a position. The team must enter the season without their star driver due to his devastating crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. Thoughts of all involved in Formula One remain with him with the hashtag #ForzaJules still being used.
Both Stevens and Merhi will make the step up to Formula One from Formula Renault 3.5 Stevens finished sixth in the 2014 season with two wins and two further podiums to his name. Merhi ended the year in third place with three wins and three further podiums. Both drivers face a big task in 2015 as they will be driving a car which has not been tested. Manor revealed just last week that the car has passed its crash tests. They have also explained that while the car is to 2015 specifications, they intend to introduce a new car later in the season using designs initiated last year. Making the grid will give the team huge financial benefits as they will receive the prize money for finishing ninth in the championship, which they would not have got had they not been racing.
All at Manor have shown that they are fighters, making sure they could make the first race of the season at such short notice. There will be no doubt that the team will continue to fight throughout the season. With no testing there is no marker at all where they will lie pace wise in relation to everyone else, so it really is just a case of wait and see.