Dave Ryan: “It’s clear we’ve made a good step forward”

Dave Ryan, the Racing Director of Manor Racing, insists both Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto can be proud of their efforts during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Wehrlein finished sixteenth at Albert Park having made a good start and running as high as thirteenth, while Haryanto was also showing good pace in the MRT05 before his retirement due to a mechanical issue while the race was neutralised by the red flag.

Ryan feels the team have taken a massive step forward in performance compared to 2015, but knows there is still work to be done to make the team a truly competitive and competent midfield outfit.

“On one hand, we can take some real positives from our first race of the season,” said Ryan. “It’s clear we’ve made a good step forward from last year and the pace in the early part of the race showed the potential in the package. At the same time, we’ve learned a lot about where we need to improve.

“Pascal did a great job and was flying in the first half of the race. Rio also got a good start and was managing the cars around him really well.

“After the red flag things took a turn for the worse, starting with the problem that led to Rio’s retirement. We let him down today so reliability will be our highest priority ahead of Bahrain and at the same time, we have to look at where we’ve lost out in performance terms. We’ve struggled with the tyres and that was a big factor for Pascal in the second half of his race.

“Operationally there’s also work to be done. Credit to the drivers, who can be pretty proud of the job they’ve done here with a lot of pressure on young shoulders. There’s a good opportunity to improve now ahead of Bahrain and we’ll leave no stone unturned when we’re back at the factory.”