Booth and Manor poised to finally break cover in Sepang

Manor team principal John Booth Picture: David Davies/PA.
Manor team principal John Booth Picture: David Davies/PA.
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Manor team principal John Booth is expecting a more normal grand prix in Malaysia this weekend after failing to even emerge from the garage on their return to Formula 1 in Australia.

Yorkshire-based Manor found themselves under investigation by the FIA after failing to compete in qualifying at Melbourne’s Albert Park, although they were ultimately absolved of any wrongdoing.

Although the cars had passed crash tests and scrutineering and so were race ready, the lack of IT infrastructure proved their downfall.

Ahead of a planned auction of team equipment in February – at a time when their days seemed numbered – all hardware had been wiped of vital data.

Following their rescue from administration, the team’s boffins were forced to rebuild the IT package from the ground up.

Although progress was made, it was not at a speed quick enough to see them take to the track Down Under.

With this weekend’s race at the Sepang International Circuit on the horizon, Manor are poised to finally break cover.

“After the disappointment of not meeting our objectives in Australia, we head to Malaysia this week hoping for a more typical race weekend,” said Booth.

“After Australia, we headed back to the UK to regroup technically and bolster the work we had completed in the field in Melbourne.

“As a result, we are in a different position to the one we were in two weeks ago.

“Again, the rate at which we are progressing, when one takes into account our circumstances pre-season, is very impressive and everyone in the team is to be commended on a huge continued effort.”

After missing the last four grands prix overall, including the final three of last season after falling into administration, Manor could not have asked for a tougher race to try to find their feet.

The event in Sepang is renowned for its heat and high humidity, and will severely test the robustness of Manor’s cars, but also rookie drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.

Booth added: “Sepang always throws up its own unique challenges, thanks to the combination of fierce heat and a well-timed downpour. But we look forward to debuting the car and our two young drivers and to finally start getting down to business on the racetrack.”