RIP: Manor F1 team

Several months on and here we are again, announcing the untimely death of yet another Formula 1 team—a team that has already faced one impending doom only to be rescued, as one escaping from flames, to find its fortunes dashed after having been resurrected for a 2016 season campaign.

Manor was born as one of three new entries to the improved and cheaper Formula 1 era that wasn’t and isn’t. On one hand, it was great to see new privateers enter the sport but on the other hand, they did so with a new hybrid power unit they could never afford. Both HRT and Caterham/Lotus folded leaving Manor, then Marussia, to fight on but even that came to an end and the team were saved by Stephen Fitzpatrick and his energy money. Now that savior has faulted and the team’s employees and drivers will now face unemployment as the administrator, FRP Advisory, have closed the doors.

Two weeks ago news was they were speaking with interested groups and things were looking better but apparently those talks have faltered and the team will now cease to be. FRP said in a statement:

“During recent months, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long-term future, but regrettably were unable to do so within the time available and were left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration to protect the best interests of the underlying businesses and in order to continue a search for a buyer.

“Since their appointment earlier this month the joint administrators at FRP Advisory have continued to work, with the support of senior management, to try and secure new investment into the business resulting in negotiations with a number of interested parties. During that period funding was secured to ensure payment of all staff salaries until 31 January 2017.

“Regrettably since the appointment of administrators no investment has been secured in the limited time available to continue the group in its present form.

“With no sustainable operational or financial structure in place to maintain the group as a going concern, the joint administrators have now ceased trading JRSL and unfortunately have had to send all staff home from work today Friday 27 January.

“While all 212 staff have been paid up to Tuesday 31 January, all but a small handful of staff are expected be made redundant by the end of January.”

It’s a sad story as this was the “new team” that I had chosen to rally behind and now they will be no more. The team of hard-working professionals are now seeking other opportunities and this is the environment that Liberty Media has walked in to with their new acquisition of Formula 1.

One wonders if they couldn’t have found a way to keep them going for a complete grid in 2017. Now Liberty Media will face the challenge of two fewer cars on the grid, everyone finishing in the top 10 and getting prize money and fans grumbling about the inequity of the F1 payment system.

A shame as the team were strong customers for Mercedes power units and one also wonders why they may not have been an interesting junior team for the like the Red Bull Toro Rosso team. Perhaps carrying two balance sheets in the sport isn’t something they are interested in when they can simply place their junior drivers at teams who rely on the power units—that comes in handy doesn’t it?