Mar.28 (GMM/Inautonews.com) After the silence of Melbourne, Manor finally got its engines running in Malaysia.
The resurrected Marussia team cited software problems two weeks ago, but were warned by Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA that another weekend spent idling in the pits would not be tolerated.
Whether or not the sponsorless team actually goes racing at Sepang, however, is another matter.
Under the watchful eye of new owner Stephen Fitzpatrick, drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi got up and running in practice, albeit a long way off the pace.
It means both drivers will come perilously close to not satisfying the FIA’s 107 per cent qualifying rule, which could once again leave them in the pits on Sunday.
Briton Stevens admitted part of his programme on Friday was keeping a close eye on the 107pc cut-off.
“I’m particularly pleased that my times in both sessions were inside the 107pc,” he said.
Yet to get on that sort of race-worthy pace, however, is the Spanish rookie Merhi.
“My first goal is to qualify for the race,” he is quoted by the Spanish daily AS, “and also, of course, to try to be ahead of my teammate.
“We have learned a lot about the car already and should not have trouble with the 107pc,” Merhi added.