March 14, 2015 / 11:00 AM / 3 years ago

Manor Marussia team to miss Australian GP

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The struggling Manor Marussia Formula One team will watch the season-opening Australian Grand Prix from their garages after failing to make it onto the Melbourne track for qualifying on Saturday.

The British-based team beat the odds in getting their cars to Albert Park but were unable to get them to run because of a computer software problem.

They sat out Friday and Saturday practice as well as qualifying, making them ineligible for Sunday’s race.

“We have come such a long way in an incredibly short space of time, so to miss out on qualifying is of course very disappointing,” said team principal John Booth.

“One always has to look at the silver lining in these situations and ours is that we have identified, worked through and ironed out a number of very challenging issues in the field and that experience will stand us in good stead as we move forward from here.”

The Ferrari-powered team missed the final three races of last year after going into administration and brought a revised 2014 car, tweaked to meet 2015 safety regulations, to Melbourne.

They only finalised their driving lineup earlier this week, naming Spanish rookie Roberto Merhi to partner Britain’s Will Stevens.

”It goes without saying that I’m disappointed that we ran out of time for qualifying,“ said Stevens. ”Disappointed not just for me, but for the whole team, because the effort this week has been tremendous.

“What matters most is that we’re here, so we have to focus on that fact and look to the future.”

Mehri also tried to put a positive spin on events.

“A tough way to start the season but we have worked together to try to overcome our problems and already I feel a big part of the team,” he said.

Despite knowing they would struggle to race in Australia, Booth said it was important they had made the effort and he was hopeful the team would race at either the next round in Malaysia or the one after in China.

“This is a team that has met and overcome many difficulties, both in the past few months and at other stages of our racing history,” he said.

“There are very good things ahead for us and that is where our focus lies. For now, well done to everyone in our team. We can all feel justifiably proud of our achievements so far.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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