The all-new Manor Racing MRT05 breaks cover this morning at the Circuit de Barcelona in southern Spain. John McQuilliam (Technical Director) and Dave Ryan (Racing Director) give us the heads-up before Pascal Wehrlein takes the car for its first road test.
John. Dream Racer?
“Absolutely. Even at this early stage of the game, we can easily say this is the best car we’ve ever launched. Certainly the most developed, the most ambitious and the most aggressive. The overall package is a very significant step forward, not just from last year, but from any of the cars from our stable. So yes, we have a long way to go from here in terms of developing the MRT05, but it’s already a dream package for the 154 Manor Racing people who’ve worked so hard to design and build it. In a small team like ours, every single individual has played their part.”
What’s so special?
“Well, for starters, it’s all new. As it should be of course, but we had to ‘make do’ last year and that’s not what we’re here for. We build fast race cars for a living and it’s great to get back to doing what we love. We’re also pretty good at it, when we have the right tools for the job. So that in itself is quite special. Better still, the MRT05 is a contender. We really believe that. The design team have focused almost exclusively on it since the middle of last season and it’s just a whole different ball game to any of its predecessors. We haven’t left any performance on the table and right now I can say there’s not a single part of the car we’d have designed differently.”
So what has it got on it?
“We’ve carried over the 2015 fire extinguisher (winks), the rest is brand new. Some 3393 different parts in fact and that’s just our in-house components. We delayed the monocoque programme to wait for the new Power Unit, which was well worth waiting for of course. The Mercedes-Benz PU106C Hybrid Power Unit is a magnificent feat of engineering and we’re proud and excited to be powered by championship-winning technology developed by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains. We also have a very competitive transmission package thanks to our technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering, who supply our gearbox and other rear-end components. Together with the efforts of our accomplished aero and mechanical design teams, that’s a pretty impressive package.”
You love it, don’t you?
“Absolutely. It was already a great-looking car but the new livery is stunning.”
First road test coming up. What are you thinking?
“I’ll get back to you later today.”
Dave, more or less 90 days in your new role. How has that gone for you?
“It’s been a very busy time, but it has really served to underline everything I thought when I first agreed to join the team – a great little operation, with huge potential and the vision and ambition to make a big step forward. There was a lot to do to prepare for this season. The team did a laudable job last year given its circumstances over the previous winter. This year, with the package we have, we need to be every inch the professional racing outfit. That’s where I’ve been focusing my attentions.”
Two new technical partnerships to get to grips with. How are those relationships developing within the team?
“Fantastically well. Our Mercedes HPP and Williams Advanced Engineering personnel have been installed in the factory for quite some time now and both of their headquarters are less than an hour away from our factory in Banbury. So we have all the resource and support we need pretty much on tap. It’s a really nice, easy relationship, with everyone working together very closely on our factory floor. The transition has been pretty seamless.”
What about the peddlers?
“Pascal and Rio are a great addition to our team. They are young and hungry but, crucially, experienced racers with a lot of talent and a great deal of potential. We’re very proud that they’re making their F1 debut with Manor Racing.”
What can we expect from Manor Racing this season?
“Respectability and competitiveness. We are done with just turning up just to make everyone else look good and every single person in this Team is looking forward to the first race in Melbourne in a few weeks’ time. We know we have to improve in every area and in no way do we underestimate the opposition, but we have assembled a great group of people, we have a fantastic technical partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Williams Advanced Engineering and now it’s up to us to deliver.”