Manor fighting to stay on track
Manor Racing has fallen into administration and is now battling for survival ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Staff of the Banbury based team were informed of the development on Friday by Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Maye.
The administrators said there was “a very limited window of opportunity” to save the team before the start of the 2017 season in Australia on 26 March.
“The team has made significant progress since the start of 2015, but the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment,” said administrator Geoff Rowley.
“The senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available.”
“Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place [Manor Racing] into administration.”
History repeats at Manor
The team entered the Formula 1 scene in 2010 as Virgin before being renamed as Marussia.
Their first foray into administration came over the winter of 2014/15 when Marussia collapsed under debts of £35m.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, who heads energy company Ovo, came to the rescue just in time for the 2015 season but for all his efforts has been unable to improve their poor on-track results.
The final blow this season came in penultimate race in Brazil where Sauber leap-frogged Manor into 10th place in the constructors’ championship after Felipe Nasr finished in ninth – costing struggling Manor about £10m in prize money.
“For much of the season we were on track,” said Fitzpatrick.
“But the dramatic race in Brazil ended our hopes and ultimately brought into doubt the team’s ability to race in 2017.”
“We made a huge amount of progress on and off track but ultimately it was not enough.”
Starting grid uncertain
The announcement by Manor has thrown into uncertainty the starting grid at the first race of the season in Australia.
Unless Manor can secure some last-minute investment, they are unlikely to take part in the first preseason test in the end of February and there are serious doubts about their ability to field a team of cars when the season kicks-off.
The potential impact will ripple down to a raft of drivers who had been pinning their 2017 Formula 1 hopes on the two vacant seats at Manor.
Brazilian Felipe Nasr and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, discarded by Sauber and Haas, and Indonesian Rio Haryanto were hoping to bring substantial sponsorship money to Manor to secure a seat but their Formula 1 futures may now be dashed.