Freshly-minted Manor Marussia team aims for Australian GP grid

Cue Dr. Frankenstein with, "It's alive! Alive!" No monster this time, we're talking about the Marussia Formula One team, now known as Manor Marussia F1, which refuses to die. It announced on its Facebook page today that it is "making huge strides towards the ... season opener in Melbourne, Australia."

We have been trained to ignore that kind of optimism in F1, because every time a team declares it's making strides, it almost always end up where it began - like all the strides Renault made on its power unit last year, or all strides Ferrari made over the previous five years. But Manor has a case: it secured a new investor last month who's been paying enough of the bills to get new agreements signed, it exited bankruptcy administration this month, Ferrari has agreed to supply the 2014 engine, and it has a 2015 racecar "in an advanced stage of build," with FIA crash tests scheduled for early March. Former reserve driver Will Stevens has been named as one of the team's pilots. Again, nothing is certain - especially in F1 - but all the pieces appear to be there.

As are a lot of questions. It's said that Manor will use a 2015 car that's necessarily a small evolution of the 2014 chassis, which hasn't been tested on-track at all. The team has no proper testing facilities of its own anymore, and it's using a 2014 engine that was well down on performance before this year's big advances. Then there's the issue of the F1 Strategy Group vetoing its return to the grid, even though one month earlier the same group said Manor Marussia could return if it fulfilled certain requirements, which the team says has been done.

Having missed the last three races of last year, Manor can't miss anymore races before 2020 or it will be in breach of the Concorde Agreement and kicked off the grid. There's plenty of life in this story, and this team, yet.

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