Rivals unimpressed by Manor approach

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Force India and Sauber admit they were not impressed by Manor’s approach to the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend as just one car ran at any time.

The team alternated runs between Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi throughout free practice sessions, although both cars did run in each session. However, Stevens then missed both qualifying and the race with a fuel system issue, with Merhi completing the race distance three laps down.

Following a complete failure to run either car at all in Australia, Manor’s approach did not impress Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley.

Asked by F1i if running one car at a time looked odd to him, Fernley replied: “Yeah … it doesn’t surprise me!

“I don’t think I need to say anything, the powers that be will deal with that accordingly. There was a clear program in Australia of going to Australia and not running at all - to my knowledge that was not even enough fuel to run - and that was a clear strategy.

“I think it was a very clear strategy here to run one car and you have to look at it from the point of view of is that in the spirit of what you’re trying to achieve? But that’s up to the FIA and the commercial rights holder, it’s not up to us. Manor are doing what they can do as best they can, it’s up to them to decide their tactics.

“If you can run car you can run both, and then you can test them even better - you get twice the testing! I think they need to [run both in China], it’s not good for their own image what they’re doing.

“I think they have to look at themselves and look at do they feel that’s the right approach to things, because clearly they’ve been determined before they’ve even arrived at the circuit.”

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn also told F1i she wants to see Manor running two cars properly at the earliest opportunity.

“Where we come from is that you need to have a full grid,” Kaltenborn said. “Everybody has to know in their own team what they really can do and what they can’t do, so I don’t think we should judge [Manor] from the outside. They have their difficulties and if they think it is the right way for them to go ahead they have to know what consequences it has for them, their brand and their participation in the sport.

“We don't know their challenges but if there’s someone who then needs to discuss this it’s probably them with the federation or the commercial rights holder.

“It’s a difficult one because we’ve all had our situations and difficulties. We took a different way in to the sport, we wouldn’t have done this. You know that we were together in trying to get things done with Force India and Lotus. It’s not for me to talk for them but I think we all had the same approach there that we want to do what we’ve always done.

“I can’t asses why [Manor] are going this way. If it’s an exceptional situation then I guess it’s alright, but I don’t think it should become a routine.”

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