Manor in profile
Last Updated: 21/01/16 5:37pm
Manor begin a new era in 2016 with a new engine supplier and new front-line management.
The addition of Mercedes engines and a technical partnership with Williams presents the team, on paper, with the opportunity to finally move away from the back of the grid.
However, they will attempt to crack the midfield without the long-time guiding hands of John Booth and Graeme Lowdon after the popular pair resigned at the end of last season.
Certainly 2015 was all about securing the team's future, rather than on-track results, and giving them the chance to build again after they were rescued from oblivion on the eve of the season by Northern Irishman businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick, the founder of Ovo Energy.
Returning to the paddock for the season-opener in Australia, although they didn't appear on track until the following race in Malaysia, Manor were cut adrift all season, handicapped by running what was essentially their 2014 car and year-old Ferrari engines.
The team, then simply known as Marussia, had fallen into administration and missed the final three races of 2014 when previous owner Andrej Cheglakov pulled his funding after his country's inaugural Russian GP.
The news came just three weeks after the harrowing events of Suzuka when Jules Bianchi, their popular and hugely talented young French driver, suffered serious head injuries in an accident in the rain-affected race. Bianchi succumbed to his injuries in July 2015 aged 25, after spending eight months in a coma.
In his two seasons in F1, Bianchi had delivered the team's first - and, as of the start of 2016, so far only - F1 points after a four-year wait with a storming drive to ninth place at the 2014 Monaco GP.
The going had always been tough for the team from the moment they joined the grid alongside fellow newcomers Lotus Racing (later Caterham) and Hispania (later HRT) - both of who are now defunct - in 2010, having applied to join the sport under a budget cap proposal that never became reality.
The team had its roots in Booth's hugely successful Manor Motorsport junior teams. Established in 1990, a string of future F1 stars passed through the Manor ranks in F3, including future world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.
Initially entering F1 with sponsorship from Richard Branson's Virgin brand, the team were launched in conjunction with former Benetton and Simtek technical chief Nick Wirth and famously pioneered an all-computational fluid dynamics (CFD) car design with the VR-01.
However, the new squad suffered huge embarrassment in their early races when it was discovered that the car's fuel tank was too small. Coupled with other reliability problems, the team didn't record a two-car finish until a new chassis was pressed into service at the start of the European season.
Wirth had continued to enthusiastically champion the CFD method despite a disappointing series of results into 2011, which only saw Virgin fall further away from Caterham (then Team Lotus) and the two parties eventually parted company. In response, former Renault engineering chief Pat Symonds came on board as a consultant and the team soon signed a technical deal with McLaren.
Virgin's reliability record greatly improved in 2011, but on-track performances failed to do so, and there appeared little to smile about at the start of 2013 either as the now Marussia-branded team missed all of the official winter tests following a failed crash test with the new MR-01.
However, things did steadily get better thereafter and they were only denied the lucrative 10th place in the championship for the first time in the closing stages of the Brazilian GP finale.
2013 then did finally deliver 10th place in the standings at Caterham's expense - which then became ninth in 2014 ahead of Sauber too, despite not completing the season, thanks to Bianchi's two points in Monaco.
It has been far from easy in the couple of years since then, but Manor always keep fighting and now equipped with the best engine in the field could spring and surprise or two in 2016.
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