A multi-million Manor is on the market. Would you care for it’s estate?
Last week financial problems became clear when part of the Manor F1 organisation fell into administration last week.
Administrators have received interest to buy the team, but that is provided the buyer can take over all 3 relevant entities. This means the administrators (and buyers) have to deal with Manor’s original owner Fitzpatrick. The latter still holding control of Just Racing Ltd and Manor Grand Prix Racing (the F1 license holder)
According to reports, the potential buyers have given a deadline of January 20 (tomorrow!) for a final decision. This deadline should ensure the buyers enough time to make preparations and get the team physically on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix. Any later would jeopardise the effort, they have argued.
TJ13 estimates this kind of argument is no more than an attempt the create some pressure. If the deadline passes: will that mean the offer will be off the table? Hard to guess. However, with the count-down to the first Grans Prix of the season continuing, realism dictates that a decision cannot be put of indefinitely. Fitzpatrick will have to make a decision.
TJ13 believes the buyers could be an Asian consortium, with whom Fitzpatrick was already discussing a sale some months ago. The consortium pulled out when Manor lost 10th place in the championship. Whatever happened to Tavo Hellmund, and was there a role for Haas? Haas blocked early payments to Force India, effectively blocking this route for Manor. Could this have been an effort to make Manor vacate the Banbury location? This might be a bridge too far, but we know F1 is becoming an aquarium for some larger sharks…
As far as we know, Manor has made most preparations for the new season, and the car is ready for production. Since Just Racing Services is under administration, a stop is put on all further spending. A big question will be personnel: they have to decide to gamble if the team will survive, or that they should start looking for other jobs. If personnel leaves, things will disintegrate rapidly, and we picked up that Torro Rosso and Renault are already sniffing up some legs…
In a bid to buy more time, we have seen reports that Manor has requested FIA to start the season in their 2016 car. Your’s truly can only comment that this would probably be a bad idea. Although the 2016 car was a step up from the year before, the 2015 car being revamped 2014 car (for reasons which are similar to today’s), it wasn’t really the fastest on the grid. Imagine what it will do against cars designed keeping to 2017 regulations?
2017 will be a lot faster than 2016, and teams think they will shave off around 3-4 seconds a lap. Manor was around 2-3 second off the pace in 2016, adding 3-4 seconds would make the gap 5-7 seconds. The old Manors would be taken off the grid faster than we could say “107% rule”.