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F1 mid-season review part six: Manor makes the points as buyout secures Sauber

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F1 mid-season review part six: Manor makes the points as buyout secures Sauber
Aug 13, 2016, 2:12 PM

In the sixth and final part of our mid-season review of the 2016 Formula 1 season, JAonF1 takes a look at the two teams currently occupying the bot...

In the sixth and final part of our mid-season review of the 2016 Formula 1 season, JAonF1 takes a look at the two teams currently occupying the bottom two spots in the constructors' championship: Manor and Sauber.

Manor started its first season in F1 without co-founders John Booth and Graeme Lowdon, who have since gone on to form a World Endurance Championship Manor squad, eying points with its new Mercedes engine.

The team gave F1 debuts to Mercedes’ protégé Pascal Wehrlein and GP2 race winner Rio Haryanto and it scored solid, if unspectacular, results early on – although the German driver grabbed attention by running high up the order in the first few laps of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Pascal Wehrlein

That all changed when Wehrlein delivered a tenth place finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, which was the British squad’s first F1 points since Jules Bianchi memorably finished ninth at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix when it was known as Marussia.

Both of the Manor drivers spun off into retirement at the British Grand Prix and the team’s driving line-up would come under close scrutiny in the final few races before the summer break as it emerged that Haryanto had only provided enough funding to race up until the Hungarian Grand Prix. Although the Indonesian driver competed at Hockenheim, the team announced earlier this week that it would be replacing him with Esteban Ocon, another Mercedes junior driver, for the rest of the season.

The first half of Sauber’s season was characterised by speculation over the team’s future as its staff were paid late on several occasions and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was absent from some races as she worked to find a buyer for the Swiss squad.

XPB.cc Felipe Nasr

On-track, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr grappled with a C35 that has not been upgraded to any great extent since the beginning of the season and they have struggled to escape Q1 in most qualifying sessions.

The low point of Sauber’s season so far came at the Monaco Grand Prix where its drivers collided shortly after Nasr ignored a team order to let Ericsson by and both eventually retired from the race.

Shortly before the Hungarian Grand Prix it was announced that financial investment firm Longbow Finance, which has links to Ericsson, had bought Sauber in a deal that secured the team’s immediate F1 future.

Pace comparison

Pascal Wehrlein

By studying Manor and Sauber’s best times from qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix – the first purpose built track F1 visited this season – versus the qualifying result for the recent German Grand Prix, shows how Manor has more-or-less maintained its place on the grid, while Sauber has slipped back behind the improving Renault team in recent races.

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Team Driver Bahrain time Grid spot Difference to pole
Mercedes Hamilton 1m29.493s 1st N/A
Manor Wehrlein 1m32.806s (Q1) 16th +3.313s
Sauber Ericsson 1m32.840s (Q1) 17th +3.347s

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Team Driver Germany time Grid spot Difference to pole
Mercedes Rosberg 1m14.363s 1st N/A
Manor Wehrlein 1m16.717s (Q1) 18th +2.354s
Sauber Nasr 1m17.123s (Q1) 21st +2.76s

Driver highs and lows – Pascal Wehrlein:

The golden moment of Werhlein’s 2016 season so far came at the Austrian Grand Prix, where he finished tenth after an impressive drive.

His low point was arguably his crash in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, which occurred when he spun on a wet patch under the main grandstand on the Shanghai track’s pitstraight and speared into the wall.

Marcus Ericsson:

The Swedish driver drove well in Bahrain and Spain, where he finished 12th on both occasions, but his P15 on the grid in Australia and China stand out as high points for the 25-year-old.

Marcus Ericsson

The Monaco crash with Nasr is definitely a low point, as was his heavy accident in practice for the British Grand Prix.

Felipe Nasr:

Like his teammate, Nasr hasn’t been able to deliver the points he scored in 2015 for Sauber, but he equalled the Swede’s best result with a fine drive to 12th in Baku from 15th on the grid, his best qualifying performance of the season.

Felipe Nasr

The infamous crash with his teammate in Monaco stands out as the low-point of the Brazilian’s year so far.

Rio Haryanto:

Haryanto did not beat Wehrlein in any of the 12 races they spent as Manor teammates, but he can point to their 5-7 qualifying record as evidence that he was not totally outclassed by the German driver.

He will remain as Manor’s reverse driver for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Rio Haryanto

Looking ahead

When F1 returns after the summer break there will be a lot of attention on Manor’s driver line-up as Ocon makes his debut in the sport at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The question over which Mercedes junior gets the upper hand at the British team for the rest of the season will be interesting to watch, and Renault will also be keeping a close eye on Ocon as it evaluates his progress with the possibility of signing the Frenchman for 2017.

XPB.cc Esteban Ocon

Sauber will hope its new owners can provide the necessary investment to introduce some developments for the C35, as well as producing a better car in time for the start of F1’s new aerodynamic rules that come into force in 2017.

What have you made of Manor and Sauber so far in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Marcus Ericsson , Esteban Ocon
Teams Sauber