Manor F1 team denies it can't run two cars after Stevens' problems

The Manor Formula 1 team insists there is no reason why it cannot run both its cars at the same time, following speculation over Will Stevens' Malaysian Grand Prix absence

Manor F1 team denies it can't run two cars after Stevens' problems

Having solved the software problems that prevented the revived F1 squad appearing in any of the sessions at the first race of the season in Melbourne, Manor took to the track for the first time in 2015 at Sepang.

But it only fielded Roberto Merhi in qualifying and the race after team-mate Stevens' car developed what Manor described as a "complex fuel system problem" in final free practice on Saturday.

The team said it had deliberately avoided running both cars simultaneously in practice to minimise the risk of making operational mistakes.

When Stevens - who had been its quicker driver in practice - failed to appear in Q1 or the race, there were rumours that Manor simply was not capable of running both cars at the same time.

But Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon refuted these suggestions as "complete, utter nonsense".

"I can guarantee you if that car could have moved, it would have raced," Lowdon told AUTOSPORT.

"There is absolutely no question about it. And it would have qualified.

"The systems and the people were perfectly happy with the results of everything in [practice] one, two and three from that point of view, and if you look at the run plans we weren't going round and round and round in one, two and three because we had very specific tasks in ticking things off.

"Quali we had very clear run planning for both cars, and we would have definitely raced with two cars."

Lowdon said Manor was clearly doing everything in could to get both its cars into every race as the current high attrition rate meant there were big opportunities just for finishing.

"Look at Melbourne - why would you not want to be in a race at the minute?" he said.

"You would drag the car kicking and screaming.

"It's complete utter nonsense. Elvis is not alive on Mars and all the rest of it.

"We'll just keep our heads down, crack on with what we have to do, and keep moving forward."

Merhi finished 15 in the grand prix, three laps down, on his F1 race debut.

He had not lapped fast enough to mee the 107 per cent cut-off in Q1 but was given dispensation to start due to Stevens having lapped within that margin during practice.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Will Stevens
Teams Manor Racing
Author Ben Anderson
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