Manor in peril as sale talks col­lapse

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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.

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