Manor has officially retired its evergreen MR03 chassis following the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tyre test, with Rio Haryanto and Jordan King giving it its final flourish of laps around the Yas Marina Circuit.
A team that ceased to function 12 months ago after slipping into administration towards the end of the 2014 season, Manor was saved over the winter and continued racing in 2015, albeit with relatively minor modifications to the 2014 MR03 chassis and the Ferrari power unit.
Persevering to the end of the season despite the uncompetitive package, though Manor has lost both its sporting director Graeme Lowdon and team principal John Booth, it heads into 2016 facing a new era having secured an engine supply with Mercedes, one that is predicted could morph into a more comprehensive partnership going forward.
In the meantime, Manor gave GP2 drivers King and Haryanto the chance to give the MR03/B its final outing during the Pirelli tyre test, a first F1 drive for the British driver, whose father Justin King is an investor in the team.
“My first time at the wheel of an F1 car has been an incredible experience and I can't thank Manor enough for providing me with this opportunity,” he said. The Pirelli tyre test had a very specific focus and I was determined to make the most of this chance to show my development capability as well as my potential for the future.
“We had a trouble-free day, so I could really get stuck into the plan, and this enabled me to build my confidence as the afternoon progressed. I was really fortunate to drive the car for 59 laps and I'm pleased with my lap time considering all the elements of the programme. I can't wait to do it again sometime. Soon, I hope!”
Haryanto – who drove the car in the morning - was the quicker of the two drivers, stopping the clock at 1min 49.593s, while King set a best time of 1min 49.661s