It can still be done, getting Manor on the grid in Australia. Time, however, is ticking. TheJudge13 is getting cramps from holding our collective fingers crossed.
Whether currently silence is good or bad: the sitation is too complex to estimate. We are still informed that Capital GF and investor lawyers are still working to get things right, but there is also a chance that the final straws offer too little grip.
The last time Manor was in this much trouble was at the end of the 2014 season. Back then the team entered administration of bankruptcy on the 27th of October, just before the final 3 races of the season. On February 19 (!!) 2015, administrators announced the team had left administration and planned to enter the Australian Grand Prix which was held on March 15, 2015. That gave the newly organized team less than a month’s time.
The compulsory crash-tests where succesfully completed on the 5 of March, after other teams had refused Manor’s request to start Melbourne racing their 2014 car.
Naturally the Australian Grand Prix was desastrous for the team, unable to even start the cars. (The software for the Ferrari engine had been erased?) News came out that the team would be docked 1/19th of the prize money, since they officially did not enter the race. It kept them in the championship though. Manor entered the next Grand Prix outside the 107% rule, but were allowed to start anyway.
There are large differences between 2015 and 2017: back then, administrators had more time since bankruptcy had already been demanded in October, but Manor had to race 2014 cars, since the hadn’t had the time to develop a new car. Current 2017’s car has been designed (but not built). The latter seems a must since 2017’s regulation changes.
A major financial difference is that in 2014 the team ended 9th in the constructor championship, and in 2016 the team was nudged from 10th to 11th. The latter making the team lose around 20M USD.
Capital GF and its backers have been talking to owner Fitzpatrick since before the Brazilian Grand Prix, and the loss of 10th position stopped talks.
In prior articles we wrote about the hesitance the new investors seem to have concerning the fatal accident of Jules Bianchi and the practice crash of Maria de Villota. On one hand this is strange, since both occurred long before losing 10th position, and should have raised flags long before.
On the other hand.. well we don’t see the other hand. The 20M USD “lost” prize money seems a really large amount, but we need to assume this has it repercussion on the selling prize. And what would starting up a new team cost? If you don’t have that kind of money, it would only mean stretching this team life another year. If you don’t see the longer term benefit, then what sense would owning an F1 team have?
At least Fitzpatrick had the vision of picking up the team, pushing it further, and selling it on. He nearly made it, and for that we need to give him kudos.
At Capital GF we would like to say: “Come on! Go ahead! Show us your colors!” as we surely want to see Manor at the Australian GP.