Manor F1: Team fold after administrator fails to find buyer
The Manor team have collapsed after administrators failed to find a buyer for the stricken business.
Manor’s operating company Just Racing Services has been in administration since 6 January, and FRP Advisory has been unable to find a buyer.
Just Racing ceased trading on Friday, effectively ending the Manor team.
The staff were sent home on Friday and told they will be made redundant by the close of business on Tuesday after the payment of January salaries.
FRP said there was “no sustainable operational or financial structure in place to maintain the group as a going concern”.
Joint administrator Geoff Rowley added the administration process “provided a moratorium” in the search for a buyer but “no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form”.
What happens now?
It is not necessarily the end of Manor – a buyer could potentially still purchase the remnants of the team.
But even if that were to happen, the move makes it much harder for Manor to make it to the start of the season in Australia on 26 March.
The team’s collapse leaves 10 teams – 20 cars – on the grid in Melbourne and comes just five days after the sport was taken over by US company Liberty Media and long-time commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone was removed as chief executive
A turbulent seven years
Manor started life as Virgin Racing in 2010 and has been through several guises in the intervening seven years.
It previously went into administration in October 2014, and was only saved by current owner Stephen Fitzpatrick, the boss of energy firm Ovo, on the eve of the 2015 season.
Fitzpatrick has said the decisive moment was the team’s slip to 11th place in the constructors’ championship as a result of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr finishing ninth in the penultimate race of last season in Brazil. This cost the team in the region of $15m (£12m) in prize money.
Manor were one of three new teams to enter F1 in 2010 after they were promised by then FIA president Max Mosley that a £40m budget cap would be introduced.
But Mosley stood down as head of the governing body in 2009 after losing a fight with the teams over the plan and the cost limit was abandoned.
All three teams have now collapsed.
Formula 1 and the FIA ‘should be investigated’
Anneliese Dodds MEP has called for a European Commission investigation into the FIA and F1 following Manor’s collapse.
She said: “The collapse of Manor Racing could be the end of seven turbulent years for a team that brought highly skilled jobs to Oxfordshire. I am very concerned that this follows other job losses in small teams.
“Formula One Group, its owners and the FIA as a regulator really need to be investigated after this collapse.
“The unfair way in which prize money is allocated in the sport, permanently favouring the largest teams regardless of their finishing position, has seen many teams struggle to survive and ultimately reduced the number of cars on the grid.
“The European Commission must investigate the complaints it received last year from two F1 teams related to anti-competitive practices before even more highly skilled jobs are lost both in the South East and all around Europe.
“I will be writing to the Commission to call on them to take serious action on the way F1 is run, before a sport loved by 500 million fans is damaged beyond repair.”
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