Manor in peril as sale talks collapse
Owner Stephen Fitzpatrick puts the Manor F1 team’s operating company into administration as sale discussions founder
The future of the Manor F1 team is in doubt after their owner, Stephen Fitzpatrick, called in the administrators in the rst week of January. Manor nished last in the 2016 constructors’ championship after Sauber leapfrogged them at the penultimate round, and have been seeking new investment – without which the team cannot continue in Formula 1.
At the 2016 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Fitzpatrick said that he had “agreed terms with an investor”, and that the loss of revenue that resulted from dropping to last in the championship was “not a deal-breaker”, but there has been no further information since.
The deal Fitzpatrick referred to was believed to have been with American Tavo Hellmund, the man behind the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and a close associate of Bernie Ecclestone. This inevitably led to speculation that Ecclestone himself was involved.
That deal is now said to have collapsed, while other unknown entities are believed to be interested. F1 Racing understands that while at least one of them entered a due diligence process, none have demonstrated proof that they have the money to buy and run the team.
Fitzpatrick, the founder of the energy company Ovo, has owned Manor since 2015, when he rescued them at the 11th hour on the eve of the new season. The team had gone into administration after the 2014 Russian GP.
Now the same administrators, FRP Advisory, are presiding over the business again. They said there was “a very limited window of opportunity” in which to save Manor before the season-opener in Australia on 26 March.
“Senior management have worked tirelessly to bring new investment, but regrettably have been unable to do so within the time available,” said FRP administrator Geoff Rowley.