“We’ll be back,” vows F1 team

MANOR F1 will be back on the track in Malaysia this month and still has a bright future.

That is the promise of team principal John Booth as the Dinnington-based team clears up the fall-out from its failure to compete in the series opener in Australia.

Although both Manor cars passed many of the tests, the team didn't have time to put the necessary IT set-up in place. That was because hardware was wiped just before a planned auction of the former Marussia team's assets.

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Rescued from administration by wealthy businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick and re-born as Manor, the new team went to Australia with every intention of racing, says Booth, and he hit back at suggestions by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that they had "zero" intention of taking part.

There were claims Manor only travelled to get £28 million owed to them by Ecclestone in prizemoney for finishing ninth in last season's constructors championship.

They would have forfeited the money had they not competed in Melbourne.

Under the deal with Ecclestone, they are reportedly allowed to miss three races per contract. They missed three last season so had to be in Australia to be eligible for the prize fund.

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While Booth acknowledged that Ecclestone had generally been supportive, he fought Manor's corner.

“We're entered in the Formula One World Championship and we felt it important to be present in Australia and try and compete,” he said. “I can understand people being cynical, but if that was the case we wouldn't have brought 30 tonnes of equipment, 40 people, fulfilled our contracts with all suppliers — Pirelli, Ferrari, whoever — with our best endeavours to go round and round a circuit.”

Booth said that another day of work probably have been enough for the team to take to the track.

Asked whether Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will be on track in Sepang next weekend for practice, Booth was certain they would and stressed the progress being made.

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“We're in a massively different place now than where we were at the start of last week,” he added.

“The progress was colossal, just not quite enough, but now we'll get to Malaysia on Monday, start setting up at the circuit on Tuesday, and for sure we'll be ready to run on Friday.”

The FIA have cleared Manor of a potential breach of the rules as they were investigated for failing to fulfil obligations to compete.