Pascal Wehrlein believes Manor Racing will be more competitive once it sorts out the issues it has with tyre degradation that heavily affected his performance during the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
The German driver was running competitively in the early laps at Albert Park but found his afternoon compromised by heavy tyre wear that ultimately left him a lapped fourteenth, but he is confident that once those issues are solved, then the team can be fighting for position with those around them.
Wehrlein was also surprised by his start to the race in Australia after jumping a number of places from the back of the grid to be amid the midfield during the early laps before the issues began.
“The start was great,” said Wehrlein to Motorsport.com. “I was a bit surprised about my start, because it was my first in F1, but it was amazing.
“I improved six or seven positions in the first lap, and then we were really competitive in the first few laps when the tyres were good. But then we had quite big tyre degradation, and for me after six or seven laps it got worse compared to the other drivers.
“Then as soon as we put on some new tyres, the pace was back again, so we had a similar pace like in the beginning, so I could fight with other drivers. Then again after a few laps I had more tyre degradation.
“So that’s the first thing we need to work on, to make the tyres last a bit longer. But in general what makes me optimistic is that the pace is there, we just need to do some changes on the set-up and make the tyres last longer, and then we are competitive.”