The candidates are now beginning to form at Manor’s door.
Although the former Marussia team’s 2015 revival is not yet guaranteed, a growing staff at Dinnington is scrambling to complete the cars, have them crash-tested and then packed up for Melbourne — all by this Friday’s looming freight deadline.
One driver, the British rookie Will Stevens, has already been signed.
And given the continuing technical collaboration with McLaren, two obvious candidates to be his teammate are Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne.
“I can’t rule that out,” Dane Magnussen, now the official McLaren reserve, said as the final Barcelona test concluded, “but it is not the focus.
“Of course my goal is to return to racing, but I want to ensure it is the best opportunity. My future is with McLaren,” he insisted.
So for now, Magnussen’s programme is to travel as reserve to all the grands prix this year with McLaren, even if he would have liked to have formed a father-son pairing with his father Jan at Le Mans.
“I did ask my father to check with Corvette if they have a place free,” he smiled.
Another candidate, according to the Turun Sanomat correspondent Heikki Kulta, is Giedo van der Garde.
The Dutchman spent last year as Sauber’s reserve, and reportedly agreed a race deal for 2015 before the Swiss team signed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims van der Garde is still chasing Sauber in the courts.
But he is now reportedly in the running at Manor, presumably with his sponsor McGregor in tow.
The Spanish sports daily AS, meanwhile, is linking the vacant Manor race seat with Roberto Merhi, who last year took some backing to struggling Caterham in exchange for some Friday morning practice outings.
“AS can reveal that the Spaniard is in advanced negotiations with the team,” the report claimed. (GMM)