MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The Manor Marussia Formula One team was still unsure if it would make it to the starting grid for this weekend’s season opening Australian Grand Prix after sitting out Friday’s practice sessions.
The British-based team struggled just to get their cars to Australia for the opening race but were unable to get either of them on the Albert Park track on Friday because of a computer software problem.
“We have had to overcome numerous hurdles to get to the Australian Grand Prix, but the challenge did not end with our arrival here in Melbourne,” team principal John Booth said.
”This is effectively our first day of testing, and as we all know that is a less than straightforward experience for any team.
“The systems required to operate these cars are incredibly complex and this is the first time we have been able to begin the process of getting all the various elements of our operation and car package talking to each other.”
Booth conceded that the team were dealing with lots of different problems and time was running out for them ahead of Saturday’s official qualifying session.
“We are steadily working through that checklist and while it is disappointing that we haven’t been able to get the cars out in today’s free practice sessions, we are racers and will do our utmost to compete for all our fans and the people supporting us,” he said.
Manor will be starting the season with a revised 2014 car, tweaked to meet 2015 safety regulations, and last year’s Ferrari power unit.
The team only finalised their driving lineup earlier this week with Spaniard Roberto Merhi to make his Formula One race debut alongside Britain’s Will Stevens in Melbourne, would compete in the opening rounds of the season.
“With the challenges we’ve faced over the past few weeks, that in itself is a fantastic achievement,” Stevens said.
”It was never going to be an easy task to get the cars out on track for the first time.
“We’ve had no pre-season testing, so we’re having to experience those challenges here in the field in a race weekend context.”
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly