20 March


Highs and lows at the Melbourne opener. Pascal takes the flag in 16th place, Rio’s debut is cut short by a driveline problem

The Race

2016 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, Sunday 20 March
Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne
Pascal P16 1:32.673
Rio DNF 1:33.847

Mixed feelings for Manor Racing at the end of a thrilling curtain-raiser to the 2016 season. Pascal Wehrlein brought his MRT05 home in 16th position, but a driveline problem put paid to an equally promising debut for his teammate Rio Haryanto.

Pascal Wehrlein:

“First of all it’s great to finish my first race and thanks to the team for that. I got a fantastic start and I was very happy to find myself in 15th place at the end of the opening lap. That first half of the race was really strong and I was pushing hard on the Supersoft and then the Soft. It was great to be as high as 13th at one point and to be racing with Sauber. Things turned for me after my first stop, which happened just before the red flag. Our plan was to have a short stint on the Supersoft which meant we pitted for the Soft not long before the crash, so that was a major setback because many of the other cars still hadn’t stopped. After that, everyone ahead started to pull away from me and because we were struggling with tyre degradation I couldn’t do anything about it. Towards the end I had a braking issue, so I just had to focus on getting to the flag. We’ve all learned a lot this weekend and everyone is working well together, so we’ve made a good start and now we have to push hard to improve.”

Rio Haryanto:

“My race was short but really positive. I made a good start, the pace was strong and I was happy with the way I was managing the gap to the cars around me. Obviously I’m disappointed not to finish my first Grand Prix but I know the team are disappointed this happened. Everyone is really starting to work well together so I’m sure we’ll be on top of things for Bahrain. It’s been a mixed weekend; some positives, some things we need to learn from. Problems aside, my debut weekend was really special and the support I’ve had from the crowd here and everyone back in Indonesia has been incredible. I hope for a better reward for us in Bahrain.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director:

“On one hand, we can take some real positives from our first race of the season. 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.”
posted at 13:10:02 on 03/20/16 by webmaster - Category: races