MANOR FAC­ING FOR­MULA 1 EXIT

Team en­ters ad­min­is­tra­tion over fund­ing short­fall

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

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.”

Fitz­patrick saved team in ’15

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