Manor's racing director Dave Ryan says he's pleased with the progress his team has made compared to 12 months ago but is aware of how far it still has to push and gave huge credit to his two rookie drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.
Despite Haryanto suffering a retirement due to a technical issue and Wehrlein finishing the last of the final runners in 16th, Ryan says positives can be taken from Melbourne considering last year the team failed to turn a wheel around Albert Park.
With its all-new Mercedes power and Williams transmission the Manor looked to be on the pace, especially in the hands of Wehrlein, but after the German lost out to his rivals due to the ill-timed red flag he struggled with tyre degradation and a braking issue that forced him to limp home at the back of the field.
Ryan says the Manor technical team has held its hands up at the problems and shifted any blame away from both his rookie drivers competing in their maiden F1 Grand Prix.
“We can take some real positives from our first race of the season,” Ryan said. “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.”