The owner of Manor F1 team has moved to replace the departing Graeme Lowden with one of the most experienced men in motorsport, Dave Ryan. He has taken up the post of racing director with immediate effect.
This is a positive move from Manor’s owner, Irish entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. As well as a man who knows every millimetre of F1’s back corridors and how things get done in Team Manager level meetings, Ryan also provides credibility for the team in their dealings with Mercedes and Williams. The team will use Mercedes engines next season and a Williams gearbox and back-end.
The departure of John Booth in particular was a source of concern for Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, as he mentioned when it first came to light.
Ryan, 61, is a New Zealander, who was a mechanic for James Hunt during his world championship winning 1976 season and spent most of his career at McLaren before being fired in April 2009 after Lewis Hamilton was caught lying to stewards, following the Australian Grand Prix, apparently having been briefed by Ryan before going in.
In fact there was substantially more to that story than met the eye and Ryan was made the fall guy at a time when management regimes were changing at McLaren and he represented the old guard, which was no longer wanted. He has since been running a team in GT Racing.
Ryan is a strict disciplinarian, so culturally the team will have to change and it will be interesting to see whether there is more investment in the team from the owner or from other investors or sponsors, to enable it to hire more people and grow.
“I’m very excited to be joining the Manor Marussia F1 team at a pivotal time in its development,” Ryan said.
“Having spent time with [owner] Stephen [Fitzpatrick], and understood his vision for the future, it is clear he has ensured there is a strong platform from which the team can make big steps forward in the seasons ahead.
“Manor has all the hallmarks of a fiercely competitive racing team, but having grown up in a much more contemporary Formula 1 era, it is a very lean operation with a collaborative culture, which leaves it well placed to contend with the sport’s future direction.
“There is clearly a big challenge ahead and a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait to meet the wider team and get down to business.”
The team still needs a team principal and former driver Alex Wurz has been mentioned in that context, although there are doubts about whether he wants to do that job or has other plans.