Dave Ryan says Manor “has come on fantastically well” over the course of the 2016 Formula One season, but the racing director admits there is still “a huge jump” to fight in the midfield more regularly.
The Banbury-based outfit experienced a sea of changes last winter following a challenging 2015 campaign when it had raced year-old chassis and engines.
Besides a senior management overhaul, Manor introduced its first new car in two years, while also switching to the dominant Mercedes power.
The team’s improvements have been noticeable, making it several times into Q2 and scoring a point in Austria. Even when it relinquished 10th place in the Constructors’ standings to Sauber at a wild Brazilian Grand Prix, Manor came very close to adding to its 2016 tally.
“It’s very competitive out there and we were running around the circuit and we did not inherit the ability to run in the middle of the field,” Ryan told F1i’s Chris Medland in Interlagos. “These were tricky conditions and we were right amongst it.
“The team has come on fantastically well but we need a better car to be competitive. The car is massively improved from last year. If you compare, it’s not even close. This is a whole league difference. But it’s still not good enough.
“We still have a huge jump to make to get more into it. Once you are amongst it, things happen, you get on a bit of a roll and things come your way. And you can also ride the bad races as well. Of course, we would love to come 10th but we would have loved to come eighth or ninth. We have to earn our place and that’s it.”
Manor trails Sauber by a single point ahead of the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.