In all violence of the Barcelona test, there is some sad, final news from Manor Racing.
On February 13th we were informed that the deal with Capital GF was called off. However, the whisper of a deal was kept alive, and we even found reports that (ex) employees of Manor were directly contacting Capital GF to offering their services to get a car on the Melbourne grid. (Imagine the hours of sleep deprivation these guys would have to pull off: true race fanatics!)
End of last season there were rumors of a deal put together by Tavo Helmund. He was quoted to have put down a bid of 20M USD. Brazil’s race saw the Saubers pass Manor in the team ranking and this caused a hole in the prospective buyers’ budget, and no deal was closed.
Reports of a possible Asian buyer persisted, and talks seemed to be ongoing. Until the 13th, when Tavo Helmund broke the until then closed ranks by explaining that he and the Asian buyers were actually the same. Helmund commented that he wanted to keep Manor alive, expecting that in a few years’ time regulations would change and it would become harder to build a team from scratch. Therefore, he expected the outfit to become more valuable over time. However things became to risky and again no deal was reached.
Even after Helmund broke his story, there was still some hope, as sources still claimed talks were ongoing. On top, administrators still hadn’t shown any signs of selling off team assets and suppliers were kept informed about the situation, so if they are required to supply parts for a car, they could react to last minute calls.
Yesterday we were told that Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick has officially informed FIA of Manor’s withdrawal. This destroys the final bit of Manor fan hope as any interested party had to be interested not only in the design of the car, but also the Manor license and the prize money that goes with it. Any entity interested party can now only buy the design and start the rest from scratch. From that position getting anything on a circuit in the current season would be unprecedented.
Indeed after the last few days of testing in Spain, McLaren are probably eyeing up Manor’s Mercedes PU allocation with envious eyes. With the trouble the McLaren team have had with their Honda PU, imagine how buoyed the racers of Manor GP would’ve been to see their new machine ahead of the works Honda outfit had their buyout miraculously come through in time. Alas it wasn’t to be.
Manor F1 Racing is dead. F1 is poorer because of it.