Newly signed Manor reserve Fabio Leimer will not make his FP1 debut in at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.
In Canada two weeks ago, the 2013 GP2 champion was unveiled as the new Friday and reserve driver for backmarker Manor.
It has been reported the Swiss driver’s first Friday outing could be at the Red Bull Ring, but only if his manager Sven Mangold manages to put together the necessary sponsorship purse.
“Everything depends on the sponsors,” Mangold had admitted to the Swiss newspaper Blick in Canada.
Now, the newspaper’s veteran correspondent Roger Benoit reveals that Leimer, 26, is today digesting the news that he will in fact not be driving in Friday practice.
Benoit said: “There is no charity in formula one. What counts here is money, especially when it comes to the struggling small teams.”
He added that a practice bow at Silverstone is also unlikely, even though Leimer will be in Austria this weekend for a medical check as his application for a super licence moves forward.
“The big question,” said Benoit, “is whether Leimer is being used only as leverage against regulars (Roberto) Merhi and (Will) Stevens, in order to raise money?”
The Blick report claims Manor will not even attend the post-Austrian grand prix test at the Red Bull Ring, with Leimer’s management confirming: “For that, the team needs money.”