Manor began 2017 car development in January

by Paul Hensby

Manor Racing’s team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick believes the regulation changes ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season could give the team an opportunity to make some moves up the grid after revealing the development of next year’s car started in January.

2017 will be the team’s third season under Fitzpatrick’s ownership, and they have seen a dramatic up-turn in performance this season, with Pascal Wehrlein scoring a point in the Austrian Grand Prix to put them ahead of the Sauber F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship standings.

Fitzpatrick is looking to make a gain every year, and feels they are on target to achieve their aim of moving up one position a year this season.

“We set out with a five-year plan last year and it was to make up one place a year,” said Fitzpatrick to Autosport. “So far we are on target – we have one team behind us.

“The first year of the plan was to assemble a team of people with a lot of experience that can help us efficiently develop the car and get the best out of it on track.

“Next year gives us a big opportunity to accelerate the one-place-a-year plan, because with the big changes in the regulations – we’ve been working on the 2017 car going back to January – we’ve invested a lot of the time of the senior guys that have joined into that project.

“When we started out this year, we were racing almost a completely new car, whereas everybody else is on their third year of an evolution.

“Next year it’s a bit of a restart for everyone so it gives us a great chance to leapfrog a couple of places, if we apply ourselves properly.”

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