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End of the road for Manor? F1 team’s operator enters administration
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Esteban Ocon
Posted By: Editor   |  06 Jan 2017   |  12:43 pm GMT  |  151 comments

The company that runs the Manor Racing Formula 1 team has gone into administration, it was announced today.

The British team, which nearly collapsed during the off-season of 2014-2015, missed out on around $15m in prize money when Sauber pipped it to tenth place in the 2016 constructors’ championship.

It is understood that staff attended a meeting at the squad’s factory in Banbury this morning where they were told that the Just Racing Services Ltd company that operates Manor had been placed into administration. FRP Advisory, which was involved in the team’s administration when it was known as Marussia, has also issued a statement confirming the state of play. If new funding cannot be found in short order then the team will not be in Melbourne for the season opening race and the F1 grid will feature just 20 cars.

We wrote a post in December highlighting concerns around Manor’s sustainability.

Manor Grand Prix Racing, the entity that owns the team’s rights to enter F1 and which goes back to the John Booth era, is not in administration.

Stephen Fitzpatrick

The team’s owner, Ovo energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick said at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November that the former Virgin Racing and Marussia squad had “agreed terms with an investor”, but no progress on a takeover has been made and, as we outlined here, Manor now faces a race against time to find new investment if it is to make the 2017 season opener in Australia.

In a statement, FRP administrator Geoff Rowley said: “The team has made significant progress under its new ownership since the start of 2015, the highlight of which included securing a constructors’ championship point in the preceding F1 season, but the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

“During recent months, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available.

Esteban Ocon

“Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration. The joint administrators are currently assessing options for the Group.

“The team’s participation will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity.

“No redundancies have been made following JRSL’s entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of December.

“The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether new investment can be secured in the limited time available and the joint administrators will continue to review the ongoing financial position.”

Pascal Wehrlein

Manor finished 11th in the 2016 constructors’ championship after Sauber driver Felipe Nasr finished ninth in the Brazilian Grand Prix, a result that pushed the Swiss squad above its rival, which had scored one point at the Austrian Grand Prix thanks to Pascal Wehrlein’s tenth place finish.

What do you make of the news that Manor has entered administration? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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151comments

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1

That’s a bloody shame! Bearny should assist them over this tough time. It’s incredible to think that with so much money being made from the F1 show that it’s not being shared more evenly with the teams that actually put the show on! Something I’ve never been able to understand. Maybe the new owners will make things fairer.
PK.

2
Tornillo Amarillo

As a small team, Manor was performing well, decent speed for a small team, good Mercedes PU, developing drivers. If the team did its job I consider unfair not to get part of the prize money, it should be some money for a team that has competed in a decent manner, with or without points. They can evaluate other performance than points, like qualify, race finishes, gaps, etc.

Thanks to Manor Ocon now has a seat at Force India and he hopefully would progress through the grid. Same for Wherlein who goes to Sauber maybe. How many champions have started in a small team at the beginning of their careers?

I think 20 cars is not acceptable for the average fan… 22 or 24 is better.

I think F1 should save Manor, and help with the task of finding an investor and / or sponsor. Mercedes could help too financing PU I guess.

3

Teams need someone to beat, that’s how racing works. Benetton won, Renault are a works team, but when I visited the Old Station Lane in Witney the legacy of Toleman was still there. I started supporting Toleman back in the Henton/Warwick era. Minardi morphed to Toro Rosso, Stewart became Red Bull. Big teams don’t just appear out of thin air, they need to be nurtured and supported.

4

‘big teams don’t just appear out of thin air’. True. They become big teams because they have top class professional management and ADEQUATE funds to go racing according to the ‘model’ at the time. There is only one reason why teams fold…$$$$. Enough of these and you can race for as long as it lasts. Winning however is different. First you need the aforementioned and then you need to spend wisely and If you are clever enough you will win. It’s not PhD material. It’s business.

5

This “business” you are talking about is heading to bankruptcy under the current modus operandi.
If you treat your employees badly, your demands for the new staff are absurd and do not create an good work environment, you’ll end up without a workforce.
Not to mention that the product is a bit outdated.

To put it in terms you seem to prefer.

6

@ ionut E…How you can arrive at the thrust of your post from what i have said simply astounds me! What on earth are you on about and don’t give me any more of your ‘canine cannibalisation’ theories.

7

The point is (for better understanding of my meaning) that today’s racing model is utterly overpriced and for this business of F1 to continue in a sustainable way and grow, the management should take care of ALL the teams (compared to the workforce in my post), as loosing them gradually would only mean a collapse of this enterprise. I hope this clears my post.

You can also explain what you mean with that canine bit, I don’t see the connection between these two totally different posts.

8

I’m hoping Ron Dennis and his Chinese investors, or Ferarri, take Manor on.

9

The cost cutting which was the opposite for small teams with the enormous hybrid engine development was crushing to small teams. We need more teams on the grid, not less. As many have said here the payment system needs to be more balanced over the whole grid. That will help the back rows of the grid. I am not a big fan of the back markers, but somebody has to be back there…….so give them some damn money Bernie. I believe the new boys controlling F1 will be smarter and create a better system, a more equitable grid for the minnows. Just hurry it up.

10

I find it sad that they struggle to compete. I rarely have a chance to watch f1 life but it always makes me appreciate the effort of all the teams, not only the ones that the TV decides to show.
I was in Malaysia last year and was very much impressed by the manors. They were the loudest cars and during practice always seemed to be pushing as hard as possible.

11

If you worked all year at your job and didn’t get paid enough to cover your household running costs then presumably you’d ask for a raise or change job.
The problem of course is when you see others that you work alongside doing the same job (granted a 2 second per lap better job) getting paid over %1000 more for doing that job.
That’s not capitalism.
That’s ridiculous.

12

There was a time I thought of an outfit like Minardi as a bottomfeeder F1 team. Times have truly changed.

13

Ron an’ Ross
To make a mentor ship programme
By owning manor
Might bring younger viewers
Hope it all comes good for everyone

14

Top 3-4 placed teams need to run a third car the following year.

15

Could this be Marchionne’s moment to bring back Alpha Romero? He could buy Manor lock, stock, and people and have an instant F1 team.

16

He has enough problems running one team!

17

I generally assume that the way things are is the way those in charge want them to be. Here we have a case where Manor having survived in almost impossible circumstances for quite a while, finally have to admit that they’re not in a position to continue without a share of F1’s revenue.
But the question is, why is F1’s revenue only split ten ways when there are eleven teams? I have always assumed that it was because Bernie Ecclestone wasn’t happy with there being more than ten teams. Was it that the FIA wanted more than ten, so allowed additional teams in, but Bernie disagreed and the FIA couldn’t force him to fund the newcomers?
That’s what I’ve always assumed, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it stated anywhere.
If it’s the case, then I guess it’s a happy new year for Bernie!

18

Does anyone konw what happened to the EU investigation triggered by Sauber writing to them (I think) about a year ago. Did they just drop it to wait abnd see what Liberty will do?

19

Does this affect Manor WEC too?

20

Sorry to read this. I was hoping that Ron Dennis would grab this team. My guess is he does not want to invest his own money into the team or needs partners.

Also, after doing due diligence I suspect the development and design of the 2017 car is not where it needs to be. This would scare off any investors. In addition I am sure someone wants to get out of the debt.

Steve

21

haven’t read the comments but i do wonder if anyone has pointed out that this is why we need manufacturers in f1

mclaren have essentially become a manufacturer by starting to sell road cars, Williams and rbr are in other technology fields and sell the odd patent here and there

sauber will end up going the same way as manor if they don’t get help from somewhere

22

Sauber will be fine. Monisha will just keep on signing drivers. That was the F1 Ponzi to beat all Ponzis, fortunately they ultimately fold.

23
Racing driver 1

I don’t understand why F1 management don’t change the points system. Points should be available down to at least 15th place, which would create a lot more meaningful battles. At present if your racing around in 11th place you might as well be in last place. There needs to be more gradient to the points system, like in Moto GP.

Second of all, why don’t they just scrape a few million off of the top teams winnings and share it amongst the lower teams. It seams that would kill the shakey situation for the last place teams.
Now manor are on the way out, this just means Sauber or Haas will be in a similar situation of getting a poor payout this time next year?

24

This year, if there is no Manor entry, Hass or Sauber could score zero points and still get tenth place money!

25

Running Manor was so obviously a money pit with no allocation of F1 money. The cars were always being complained about by the front runners as too slow. As a business model it would be declined loans by most lenders. The only hope the owner had was the lottery hope of finding a buyer with even more money to waste. Mind you, if I won £100m on the lotto I would have had a go for 2-3 years! I hope that all the employees find employment fast.

26

It’s a shame to see any F1 team fold. Manor has been through the wringer what with losing its test driver in a freak accident, losing its first points scoring driver due to ultimately fatal injuries in a race, and nearly folding at the end of 2014. Let’s hope a solution can be found, especially to save the jobs of the hardworking employees. Mercedes might consider adopting Manor as its farm team as RB did with Minardi in 2005.

27

Hi James. Is there a way to explain all this Manor scheme ? I mean who owns what? – on the paper down goes operator not Manor GPR so what exactly that means ? Or did Tavo/Consortium deliberately allowed this to happen to get Manor for sandwich? Anyway one don’t want to be superstitious but you can’t help but think all that project has been born under wrong star

28

Could be, as there is $30m of prize money owing, even though they lost around $15m by not finishing 10th

Sometimes a tactic for a buyer is to let it fold and then pick it up

29

This makes me sad. I suppose the vultures are circling. Hopefully there is a Phoenix also.

30

Sucks to be pascal werhlein right now, i bet ocon can’t believe his luck!

31

Does this mean that Manor Grand Prix Racing can now partner with a completely new investor and enter the F1 Championship?

32

This is getting ridiculous and totally unfair. First Manor, and now Silverstone are talking about scrapping the GP because they are loosing money every time!
The people at the top should hang their heads in shame! Are you listening Bernie!

33

Bernie can’t hear. His head is in his wallet.

34

Certainly not happy to look upon the possible demise of Manor. I wonder if interested parties concluded it might well be cheaper to buy the team from the administrators than as a going concern from Stephen Fitzpatrick ? The latter previously bought the team from administrators. Time will tell but given we are in January with testing shortly and the first race is in 11 weeks time, there’s arguably little opportunity for an effective rescue. Either there’s someone biding their time for the strategic moment to speak to the administrators or there’s no-one. The value of the team and its assets may well be little; what a buyer has to consider is the cost of running the team, month by month, once purchased. Where does the cash flow come from if there are no significant sponsors and performance money from BCE ?

35

The F1 graveyard is littered with ‘wannabe’s’. No businessman worth his salt would enter into an F1 business without a minimum three/ five year plan. That plan would/should have as a basis, how to survive a ‘worst case scenario’ a top line version of ‘blue sky’ with a middle plan of a ‘most likely’. Based on that decisions can be made. If Manor failed it wasn’t because of unfair financial distributions because they are, in this case, after the fact. I have zip sympathy for people who find themselves in this position simply because of bad business decisions. The ‘drovers dog’ would be aware of what the costs of participation in F1 are and build a business accordingly. If you don’t have the means in the first place don’t expect charity….stay away.

36

If there were potential ‘buyers’ their propensity to buy would have been influenced by (i) the state of the 2017 program and (ii) the price. If the 2017 car has not been finalised and a chassis is not yet in the production process then participation the early races would be unlikely as this time they cannot run a 2016 car. If there is no car the price consideration becomes irrelevant and closure beckons. This does not look like the Brawn 2009 situation where the car was ready to roll and Ross was talking about it publically to all and sundry. No one is tallking up Manor’s car for next year! I hope I’m wrong but it looks bad.

37

Excuse my ignorance James but what exactly is Mercedes corporate relationship with Manor? Many were talking of them being a ‘Mercedes Junior’ in a similar style to Torro Rosso/RBR. Is there any attraction in Mercedes investing in the team to ensure the continued development of their young drivers?

38

Elementary, my dear Tal.

Mercedes makes luxury cars.
Rich people have several properties: Masons, beach and country houses.
When going countryside, a Mercedes driver park his car in Manor.

Aaand… duck xP

39

James, with Manor disappearing and Wehrlein supposed moving to Sauber. Does that mean that Sauber will get the Mercedes-engine now? Will it be for 2018 or is their a chance that they will get it already for this season? How much difference is their in the aerodynamics of designing a car for Ferrari or Mercedes?

40

Kind of ironic that Merc re entered F1 as an engine supplier to Sauber when Sauber first appeared in F1.

41

Interesting point. Sauber has been a Ferrari customer as long as anyone can remember but they don’t supply engines that are as current as works team to customers as Mercedes do, I believe

Politically Sauber was always aligned with Ferrari but Haas has taken that slot now, so could be up for grabs, yes

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