Manor racing director Dave Ryan has conceded the team's car is not yet "where it needs to be".
Ryan, however, is convinced that the squad is “way ahead of where we were performance wise” in 2015, boosted of course by the switch to Mercedes power units and the agreement that will see Williams supply the transmission.
Under Ryan the team has also made a number of high profile signings, with former Ferrari and McLaren chief Nikolas Tombazis joining as chief aerodynamicist and Pat Fry, another ex-Ferrari and McLaren man named as an 'engineering consultant'. The addition of Mercedes test and reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein is also viewed as a positive
“Yes, everybody is pretty knackered,” Ryan said after the final pre-season test. “We are starting to work as a team though. We still have a lot of work to do. We had a lot of changes, different people in different roles that they had not been used to before. It is not where it needs to be, to be absolutely honest, [but] we are a long ways towards that. So we're looking pretty good heading for Melbourne.”
Meanwhile, Ryan refused to speculate on where the team might end up in Australia next week, scene of the opening race.
“It would be a foolish person to start making predictions. I am pretty happy with the progress we have made, we certainly are a much stronger team than last year. From a performance point of view we are way ahead of where we were, which you would expect with the partners we have got now, and the fact that we have the new car. Where we are actually on the grid, however, I don't know.”