MANOR FACING FORMULA 1 EXIT
Team enters administration over funding shortfall
Manor Racing is not likely to take part in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship after its operating company was placed into administration last week.
The British squad had been battling to secure fresh funding across the course of last season to ensure its place on the grid for the coming campaign, but almost all hope of the team returning was dashed when talks broke down last month.
Banbury-based Just Racing Services Ltd, which operates the Manor team, was placed into administration last week and the team’s 212 staff were told of the squad’s fate at its HQ last Friday.
While Manor technically still has time to find the backing to compete in what would be its third season under the ownership of Stephen Fitzpatrick, he admitted it looked unlikely a deal could be done.
“The decision to put the team into administration represents a disappointing end to a two-year journey for Manor,” Fitzpatrick said. “Over much of the last year we have been in discussions with several investor groups, and had finally agreed terms of sale to an Asian investment consortium in December.
“This would have provided the team with a strong platform for continued growth and development. Unfortunately time ran out before they could complete the transaction.
“Not wishing to repeat events of the past, we resolved in 2015 not to start any season that we did not know for certain we could compete, so we have taken the difficult decision to put the team’s operating company into administration.”
Manor Racing has been present on the grid in some form since it entered the sport under the Manor Grand Prix title in 2009, before being renamed Virgin Racing. For the 2012 season the team’s name was changed again to Marussia Racing, while the team then became Manor-marussia – despite the absence of any affiliation to Marussia – in 2015 after the team was saved from the brink of collapse by investment from Fitzpatrick.the team took up its Manor Racing moniker for 2016.
Fitzpatrick added that the squad’s fate was effectively sealed when it failed to finish in 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship last term, missing out on around £25m in additional prize money.
Manor had held the place for much of last year after Pascal Wehrlein’s 10th place in Austria, but the team was displaced by Sauber when Felipe Nasr finished ninth to score two points in the soaked Brazilian GP.
“When I took over the team in 2015, the challenge was clear; it was imperative that the team finish in 10th place or better in 2016,” Fitzpatrick said. “For much of the season we were on track [for that target]. But the dramatic race in Brazil ended our hopes of this result, and ultimately brought into doubt the team’s ability to race in 2017.”