In November 2010, it was announced that Marussia, a Russian sports car manufacturer founded in 2007, had taken a controlling stake in Virgin Racing and that in 2011 it would compete - under a Russian racing licence - as Marussia Virgin Racing.
In November 2011, the F1 Commission officially accepted the team's request to change it name to Marussia F1 Team in 2012.
Having established a technical collaboration with McLaren, and recruited former Renault stalwart Pat Symonds to put together a design team, not to mention the move to a new factory in Banbury - closer to the F1 Triangle - much more was expected of the team in 2012, especially in light of its previous dismal performances.
With a 60% model of its 2012 car in the McLaren wind tunnel by the end of September 2011, the first parts were being received at the factory in early December. Surprisingly, the team opted to continue with one strand of Nick Wirth's philosophy - it opted not to use KERS in 2012 - John Booth insisting that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
While Jerome d'Ambrosio gave a good account of himself in 2011, the team opted to drop him in favour of GP2 graduate Charles Pic, who spent two days testing with the team at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. Timo Glock, who had a contract until 2014, would continue to lead the team.
Looking ahead to the new season, Pitpass' Mat Coch summed up the huge improvement needed... and why.
"Virgin is officially the worst team in Formula One," he wrote. "It has been these last two seasons and that simply has to change. Investors are not interested in doing business with an entity which is not successful. Success breeds success, and while Jim Wright, Marketing Director at Virgin, tells us that the team's finances are built through business-to-business relationships rather than traditional investment, Formula One is an especially fickle business and if you're not winning you're losing. The maths is comparatively simple in that respect."
Well, on paper, Marussia appears to have had a pretty good season, however, had the season been just a few laps less it could have been even better.
Yes, the Russian team finally overhauled HRT, leapfrogging the Spanish team to finish eleventh in the standings however, until the final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix it appeared to have jumped Caterham also, thereby taking tenth in the standing, and thereby entitled to a share of the official prize pot, thought to be worth in excess of £15m.
Having failed the mandatory crash test, the Russian team was forced to use its 2011 car in pre-season testing, the 2012 (MR01) not appearing until March 5 - eleven days before the start of the Australian Grand Prix weekend - when it was unveiled at Silverstone.
The penultimate car to be launched - HRT was last - originally it was to be the only car on the grid that would not use KERS until the Spanish outfit opted to follow suit.
The start of the season didn't augur well, Clock and Pic managing to out-pace the HRTs but still way short of the Caterhams. On the other hand, reliability was good, though in Bahrain Pic began a run of three races in which he failed to finish courtesy of a string of failures (hydraulics, driveshaft and electrics).
While there was disappointment when Glock was forced to pull out of the European Grand Prix due to a stomach bug worse was to come weeks later when test driver Maria de Villota was seriously injured in a bizarre accident during straightline testing at Duxford Airfield.
The Spanish driver crashed heavily into the lift gate of the team transporter, sustaining serious injuries. In the days that followed it was revealed that she had lost her right eye.
Having dropped Nick Wirth's controversial all-CFD approach, the conventional windtunnel work appeared to be paying off.
At Spa, the team's fiftieth Grand Prix, Pic was fastest in FP2 with teammate Glock sixth, though it should be pointed out that only ten drivers actually set a time in the heavy rain. However, In Singapore, Glock was to produce the team's best ever race result, finishing twelfth and thereby leapfrogging Caterham to take tenth in the Constructors' Championship.
To the Banbury-based outfit it was like winning the championship, however, the joy was short-lived, Vitaly Petrov's eleventh in Brazil allowing the Anglo-Malaysian team to retake the position and the (much needed) prize money.
Ironically, on the Friday of the Brazil weekend, Pic revealed that he was heading to Caterham, therefore with Glock under contract until the end of 2014 attention shifted to who might partner him.
A few weeks later it was announced that Max Chilton, who had driven the car in FP1 in Abu Dhabi, would partner Glock in 2013. Sorted!
Even before Brazil however, in early November, Pitpass reported that the team was in active discussion with potential new investors in the business and was also pursuing other sources of income including potential sponsorship and drivers.
All went quiet until January 20, a cold miserable Sunday, when two reports coming out of Germany caught the sport (and media) off guard. The first related to Toto Wolff leaving Williams for Mercedes, while the other had Timo Glock being dumped by Marussia.
Next day, the Russian team confirmed the news, claiming that the decision was by mutual agreement. Summing up the situation, John Booth said: "The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future. Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula 1 teams included."
While Glock soon found employment in the form of a DTM seat with BMW, many were shocked by the news and as the debate raged the popular German took to twitter, confirming that "this has nothing to do with sport".
Therefore, bearing in mind Pitpass' revelation in November, coupled with Glock's dumping and Booth's admission, things did not look good for the Russian team, a situation emphasised by the collapse of HRT.
Days before the first of the 2013 launches, a number of (pay) drivers were under consideration for the second seat, while the team had yet to announce its launch date. The team subsequently announced Brazilian Luiz Razia as Chilton's teammate however, when the youngster was unable to produce the first instalment of his 'rental fee' he was dropped and hours after Jules Bianchi learned he had lost the Force India drive the Frenchman was signed by Marussia.
It was believed the Bianchi deal may well have been underwritten by Ferrari, not only in terms of getting the youngster into a seat but also with an eye on the new formula for 2014 when Marussia would need a new engine supplier to replace Cosworth.
Marussia spent 2013, much like previous seasons, locked in its own little world championship with Caterham, occasionally snapping at the heels of those losing ground to the midfield but more often than not squabbling over the scraps that nobody else wanted.
On a positive note, Marussia though totally lacking in pace, showed superb reliability, while Chilton was one of only three drivers to finish every race, the only driver to do so in his rookie season in the entire history of the sport.
The MR02's extraordinary reliability paid dividends when Bianchi finished 13th in Malaysia, the second race of the season, for this was enough to give the Russian team the edge over Caterham in terms of the Constructors' Championship at season end and the substantial FOM prize money that came with it.
Bianchi usually had the edge in qualifying, but in all honesty the equipment at their disposal meant that neither driver was ever really able to show what he was truly capable of.
Bianchi, having qualified 19th for the Australian Grand Prix, overtook Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap, eventually finished 15th on his F1 debut, while teammate Chilton scored his best finish in Monaco (14th) though he was aided by a proportionately high number of retirements.
In Belgium, Bianchi qualified 15th, his best performance of the year, while Chilton was one place behind on the grid having been one of three drivers to go out on slick tyres at the end of Q1 when the track's condition was improving.
With the team opting to retain both drivers for 2014, as widely predicted, it was also to use Ferrari power plants, a move forced on the team after Cosworth elected not to build a power unit for the new formula.
Fears for the team's future, the result of the official entry list featuring an asterisk against its name, indicating that the entry was "subject to confirmation", were dismissed by team boss Graeme Lowdon who insisted it was the result of "administrative details" yet to be finalised with the FIA. However, this proved to be a portent of things to come.
Missing the first two days of the Jerez test, Marussia was finally on track (sort of) for the final two days. We say 'sort of' because Chilton only completed 5 laps on his day of running and Bianchi completed just 25 next day.
Whilst the first test in Bahrain was equally disappointing, things picked up at the second test, the duo out-pacing the Caterham and Lotus duos, not to mention Sebastian Vettel.
From the outset, battle with Caterham was resumed, with Sauber and Lotus now slipping into the rear-of-the field struggle. Q2 continued to be an elusive dream whilst race pace was also disappointing.
In Monaco however, it all came good. Bianchi, courtesy of a strong drive, and the over enthusiasm of others, brought the red, white and black car home in ninth to score his, and his team's, first ever championship points. It was a fantastic, much deserved, morale booster for the team, now in its fifth season, and a result that nobody in the paddock begrudged.
As is the nature of things, at the next race (Canada) both drivers were eliminated on the first lap, bringing to an end Chilton's perfect record of finishing every race he had started. Such is the nature of F1.
From the outside, the Monaco success gave the team some much needed respite for if it were to maintain tenth in the standings - ninth should Sauber fail to score any points - it would add as much as £40m to the team's coffers as well as making it more attractive to potential sponsors.
As if to reinforce the team's improving form, at Silverstone Bianchi made it through to Q2, putting the car 12th on the grid, with further appearances in Q2 in Hungary and Belgium. Meanwhile, Chilton also made it to Q2 at Silverstone, the Briton starting his home race just behind his teammate.
As if to demonstrate that the financial situation was still grave however, in late July Alex Rossi was confirmed as test and reserve driver, having ended his association with Caterham. On the Thursday of the Belgian Grand Prix it was announced that the American would replace Chilton due to "contractual issues". However, next morning, during FP1 the move was reversed and while nobody was willing to say too much it is understood that there was a difference of opinion over money with the Briton's backers and the team had to make a point.
At Suzuka however, the dream finally ended. On another dark day for the sport, Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle that was attempting to remove Adrian Sutil's car from the side of the track. Subsequent video footage showed the full horror of the accident, and a sport, already praying for Michael Schumacher, now found itself grieving for another one of its sons.
As the world awaited news of his condition, Marussia headed to Russia where, out of respect to the Frenchman, only one car was entered (Chilton), whilst Bianchi's chassis was left silent in the other garage.
There was to be no fairy-tale result for the team, Chilton retired after just 9 laps with a broken suspension. Meanwhile, as sources close to Bianchi's family revealed that the youngster's recovery would be long and slow, it was the fortune of the team that went into sharp decline.
In a series of events that occurred almost faster than they could be reported, Marussia, like Caterham, revealed that it didn't have the necessary funding to contest the United States Grand Prix, the scheduling of which meant they would also miss the Brazilian race.
As Bianchi continued to fight for his life, now back in hospital in France, his team was going under, finally put in administration.
Whilst Caterham resorted to crowd funding, which enabled it to contest the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Marussia was clearly finished. The team (as Manor) was included in the FIA's provisional entry list but the numerous asterisks suggested that this was merely part of the formal procedure.
In late December most some the team's assets were sold at auction, with Haas F1, due to enter the sport in 2016, buying its Banbury HQ.
On 29 December, administrators FRP, revealed that "despite extensive discussions, no satisfactory offer or strategy has been offered to presently allow racing to continue." At the same time, Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt revealed that the team made a net loss of £11m in 2013 and a further £29.2m in the first eight months of 2014. FRP confirming that Marussia owed £31.4m to more than 200 companies.
Then on 19 January came news that an auction of vital team equipment, including cars, had been cancelled, though no reason was given.
After two weeks without further news, on 4 February, FRP said: "Since the appointment of administrators negotiations have taken place with a number of parties to try and secure a long-term solution for the team. We can confirm that negotiations continue towards a longer term viable solution for the business and participation of a team in the 2015 season.
"It is envisaged that, prior to the commencement of the first race of the 2015 season, investment into the business will be made upon the company exiting from administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement, which is planned for 19 February 2015. A CVA is a restructuring process agreed with the company's creditors which allows for a turnaround of the business and the creation of a longer term viable solution for the team."
Whilst attention focussed on whether Marussia might yet be saved, a new row had broken out over the team's plans to race. Though it had previously been agreed that Marussia (and Caterham) would be allowed to field a 2014 car, a January meeting of the Strategy Group ruled this out, Force India revealed as one of the principal objectors. Whilst the Silverstone-based outfit argued that this was to do with compliance, others wondered if it might be more about the substantial prize money Marussia was due for those points earned in Monaco.
Days later Manor officially confirmed its plans to return to the grid, issuing a statement in which it outlined its strategy.
On 19 February, as promised, the team took another major step forwards by entering a CVA with its creditors, thereby allowing control of the team to be taken out of the hands of the administrators and placed in the hands of the company's directors, who were named as Graeme Lowdon, John Booth and former Sainsbury chief executive Justin King, previously tipped (by some) to replace Bernie Ecclestone as F1 boss.
On 25 February, the team named Will Stevens as one of its drivers and said that it would line-up on the grid for the season opener. A stance confirmed on 4 March as Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of independent energy supplier Ovo, was revealed as the team's saviour. "The team has been preparing the cars with which it will begin the 2015 season and which comply fully with the 2015 regulations," read a statement. "Later in the season it will introduce a new 2015 specification car as per the designs initiated last year."
The very fact that Manor had survived 2014, far less went on to complete the 2015 season, is surely enough to satisfy the most ardent member of the 'glass half empty' club.
No, the team was never realistically in with a chance of points. No, that 2015 car never did appear. No, it wasn't even able to match the disastrous McLaren... but yes, it was there on the grid, having survived where HRT and Caterham had failed.
For entirely altruistic reasons, we're sure, Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA bent over backwards to assist the team, allowing it to miss the season opener and turning a blind eye to various other issues over the course of the year.
Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi and Alexander Rossi did the best they could under very difficult circumstances, while Booth, Lowdon and Co did their level best to keep things together.
In a somewhat ironic move, the team’s Banbury HQ, which was vacated when Manor appeared to be dead and buried, was purchased by newcomers Haas. Clearly, team owner Gene Haas isn’t superstitious.
Reliability wasn't too bad indeed, the team out-performed McLaren, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Force India, even if the MR03B was always to finish a couple of laps down and never qualify higher than 18th.
Along with the shadow of penury hanging over the team, so too did the events of Suzuka 2014. Indeed, days ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi was to finally lose his battle, another bullet to the heart of the popular little team.
At season end, Manor will have been happy simply to survive and to start building for 2016 and beyond. Sadly however, despite the euphoria of securing a Mercedes engine deal for 2016, internal differences of opinion resulted in the departure of Booth and Lowdon. Bob Bell was another to go, whilst fearsome former McLaren man Dave Ryan was recruited as Sporting Director.
By mid-January 2016, the team had yet to name either of its drivers. Among those under consideration were Stevens, Rossi, Kevin Magnussen, Jordan King (son of Justin King) and Pascal Wehrlein. Indeed, as Haas insists that it is not a Ferrari B-team, one wondered how long it will be before similar denials (in terms of Mercedes) started emanating from Manor.
On 19 January, Manor confirmed its team name change to Manor Racing Team, while the cars would be known as MRTs. Around the same time, signalling its new found ambition, the team announced the recruitment of aero guru Nikolas Tombazis and former McLaren and Ferrari man Pat Fry as engineering consultant.
Several weeks later, though the initial rumours had died down, Wehrlein was confirmed as one of the squad's drivers in 2016, the German having agreed a one-year deal.
A week after that, courtesy of Indonesia's state oil company Pertamina and the Youth and Sports Ministry, rookie Rio Haryanto, who had just enjoyed his best season in GP2, signed on the dotted line to complete Manor's line-up.