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Time’s up – lack of buyer means Manor F1 team will close ahead of 2017 season
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Manor F1
Posted By: Editor   |  27 Jan 2017   |  5:16 pm GMT  |  90 comments

Formula 1 will have just 20 cars on the grid this season after administrators attempting to find a buyer for the Manor Formula 1 team said that time has run out and the squad will now close for good.

Just Racing Services Ltd, the company that operated the team that was owned by energy businessman Sean Fitzpatrick, went into administration earlier this month after Manor finished 11th the 2016 world championship.

Manor’s workforce of 212 was sent home from work today, having been paid up to the end of January, after FRP Advisory, the administrators searching for a buyer, announced that the team would cease trading. All but a few staff members are expected to be made redundant by the end of the month.

The prize money they were due to receive during 2017 will now be shared among the remaining 10 F1 teams, adding a million or so more to the coffers of each. The failure to retain 10th place in the championship that they held from the Austrian GP in July until Felipe Nasr broke their hearts with a run to 9th in Brazil ultimately led to their downfall.

XPB.cc Pascal Wehrlein

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

An official statement issued by FRP Advisory today said: “During recent months, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long-term future, but regrettably were unable to do so within the time available and were left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration to protect the best interests of the underlying businesses and in order to continue a search for a buyer.

“Since their appointment earlier this month the joint administrators at FRP Advisory have continued to work, with the support of senior management, to try and secure new investment into the business resulting in negotiations with a number of interested parties. During that period funding was secured to ensure payment of all staff salaries until 31 January 2017.

Manor F1

“Regrettably since the appointment of administrators no investment has been secured in the limited time available to continue the group in its present form.
“With no sustainable operational or financial structure in place to maintain the group as a going concern, the joint administrators have now ceased trading JRSL and unfortunately have had to send all staff home from work today Friday 27 January.

“While all 212 staff have been paid up to Tuesday 31 January, all but a small handful of staff are expected be made redundant by the end of January.”

The British team, which joined the F1 grid as Virgin Racing alongside Caterham (then Lotus Racing) and HRT back in 2010, nearly collapsed during the off-season of 2014-2015 but was saved from closure by Fitzpatrick’s takeover at the start of the 2015 season. HRT and Caterham went to the wall too.

Virgin Racing 2010

But after it missed out on around $15m in prize money when Sauber pipped it to tenth place in the 2016 constructors’ championship, Manor’s future heading intp 2017 did not look good.

The team had been on the look out for fresh investment for some time and Fitzpatrick told the media at the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that it had “agreed terms” with an investor, but that deal failed to materialise.

With FRP Advisory ending its search for new owners for the Banbury-based team – known as Maurssia between 2012 and 2015 – F1 will be left with ten teams and a 20-car grid for the 2017 season.

Manor’s F1 record

As Virgin, 2010-2011:

38 races
0 points

Jules Bianchi

As Marussia, 2012-2015:

73 races
2 points (Jules Bianchi, ninth place at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix)

As Manor, 2016:

21 races
1 point (Pascal Wehrlein, tenth place at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix)

What do you make of the news that the Manor team will close? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

Sad news. It was probably going to be Sauber or Manor, I fail to see how both would have been able to make it. Very sad, they were making good progress.

2

Sauber was bought last year by an investment company

3

Just proves that the “prize money” sharing is up the creek. The established teams, who have plenty of money, get the lion’s share of the money. Racing is only made possible by having a grid made up of potential winners and others they can beat. More needs to be done to help new teams. No new team has come into F1 and become firmly established for an awful long time. Many have tried and failed. Haas is looking like making a success of it but they have a lot of backing from Ferrari.

4

I may be wrong, but I thought an off the shelf F1 team would have been quite attractive to an investor prepared to gamble on running the team with a limited budget in the hope that Liberty are more generous with their distribution of income in the years to come.

5

I am sorry to see Manor F1 out of F1. The problem is they could not contribute much to F1 as they did not have the budget. How about divide the F1 funds equally between the teams? It doesn’t make sense to give more money to larger and richer teams. How are the smaller teams going to catch up? The whole concept is wrong.

6

150,000 each

7

We won’t miss them because we don’t need another un-competitive team out there… that’s some of the stupid things being written about Manor ceasing operation. By that measure, everyone but Mercedes should retire. I for one will miss them. Sadly, they are another victim of the sham that Bernie created to institutionalize the payments to Ferrari, Mercedes, RBR, and Williams… the rest get screwed. Under new administration (LMG) I expect seeing this sort of thing become a think of the past.

8

you would think that an investor would have come forward now we have the brave new world of liberty f1 from the usa.
Maybe trump and his me and the usa first rhetoric has scared off say anyone from 85% of the world.

9

Sad day! Because F1 needs more teams in the sport. 12 teams (24 cars) would be perfect!

10

I really did hope that Mercedes would save this outfit. With the successful Red Bull / Toro Rosso model and Ferrari developing a strong relationship with Haas, Mercedes investing in a team just down the road from Brackley seemed like a great opportunity.

11

My first thought is for the people involved, the stress and upheaval of being laid off and the fallout for their loved ones and families. These must be very difficult times.

Just because a team is running at the back of the grid doesn’t mean they work less hard, or do a worse job then the front running teams. They mainly lack the budget to test and develop and for me this is no reason to exclude them by means of financial hancuffs. There appears to be plenty of money to go round.

From a sporting point of view I believe F1 needs small teams. It has been great to see the strides made in professionalism and performance for the minnows of F1 over the years. The emotion of watching Jules’s 9th place in Monaco was appreciated by the majority of F1 fans as a win for the team.

And don’t forget where many aspiring young drivers get there first spell in the goldfish bowl.

Liberty – sort this out! Ferrari continuing to receive $70m for turning up seems wildly unfair whilst peoples jobs and livelihoods are disappearing, development channels are being closed and fans are being robbed of the chance to see another Monaco ’14… Minardi leading in Portugal, (Alonso and Webber started with Minardi)

David and Goliath may be a fable but these results actually occurred. For F1 to let the possibility go is a travesty.

12

They came into an f1 championship on the understanding that the budget needed would be £40m. This would then give them a chance to be competitive.

As is the norm with F1. Don’t believe any of it until it actually happens. They did well to last so long against all of the odds.

Thoughts go to all of the staff.

13

@ Mike D…then obviously their understanding was a ‘misunderstanding’. There was never ever any budget cap.

14

Why wouldn’t the prize money be part of the financial settlement of debtors? I personally think that $10M to them os a better use of funds than giving it to many teams that don’t need it (Merc, Ferrari, RBR…). Surely this is the right thing to do and continues to send the right message of how a red hot go at F1, and you’ll be rewarded for effort (even if under a skewed system).

15

they should take Haryanto’s at mid season… it was not all but something…

16

Bernie should buy this team and run it as Ecclestone, a new legend.

17

in reality was it really ever going to be otherwise? These backmarker teams are to all extents ‘invisible’ on the day and do nothing to add to the racing apart from getting in the way of faster cars. Cold reality. Some people support them as an ‘F1 incubator’ . I don’t quite see it like that. I don’t believe that there is any sense in forming a team and racing if the team does not have adequate funding locked away for whatever period is deemed necessary for the team to be financially secure. It is fantasy to expect that the funding model will change prior to 2020 so why play the “victim’. Yes, it is not nice to be unemployed but all the manor teams employees must have known that they were on shaky ground prior to signing on! if not then that is not too clever. The series would be better served by allowing three car teams or single car teams as both of these ideas have merit. The top teams could easily afford a third car and the back end could probably function must easier if they only had to fund one car/driver. Their needs to be flexibilty if the grids are to be grown with new entries.

18

It’s a shame we keep Sauber at the expense of Manor. At least Monor had the underdog spirit and, to me, seemed like a team that given a fair chance could have achieved more.
Unlike Sauber who seem content with simply turning up and have no great drive or desire to compete with the other teams on the grid.
I was hoping we might see Ron Dennis pick up the team, but maybe too much of a challenge/long term project at Ron’s time of life.
Hopefully the other teams can pick up the staff with the extra $$ they will now receive.

19

Sad to hear about this, although it was only a matter of time till someone fell from the grid in the current status quo in F1, either them or Sauber were the next in line for an early exit, it still hurts to see this team close.
Unfortunately they didn’t survive until new rules are implemented for the series, hopefully after that point life will be a bit easier for the small teams, as they are very much needed on the grid, not some decorum for big teams battles.

20

Mosley promised 3 teams that they could enter F1 and survive because he was going to bring in spending limits. It never happened. I’m surprised no one chased him for for a handout. Mosley, a tax exile, can easily afford it, apparently he’s worth £100 million. I wonder where that came from ??

21

@ roger k…and if anyone believed him without sighting a confirmed agreement that budget caps were in place then they are very poor businessmen.

22

Any rumors of Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull being asked to field a 3 car team like there were a couple of years ago when Manor were last circling the drain? Or does a 20 car field meet all the current circuit hosting agreements now?

23

Liberty Media have got to get a grip on this before we’re down to 16 or 14 cars. I blame Bernard Charles Ecclestone for allowing, even encouraging the present situation to arise on his watch.

There have got to be enough ‘entry level’ teams in F1 to allow top drivers from the feeder series, plus engineers, mechanics, technicians, etc., to learn their trade on the job.

24

I don’t agree with you. As mark webber said, ‘F1 is not a finishing school’ and i tend to agree. They, in a manor of speaking ,were never going to make it with the business model they had. The rules were the rules before they signed up. No excuse for making a hash out of it.

25

If you look at the bigger picture you will know that the lower order teams have been pleading for fairer distribution of income for ages. Not just the HRT’s, Caterhams and now Manor, but the likes of Sauber and Force india, despite the latter’s recent good form. Are you suggesting that they should go off and do something else, leaving us with 16 cars? It’s been said before, but would the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren be ready, willing and able to run three cars to fill the gaps? I’m sure Liberty Media don’t want dwindling grids any more than they do struggling teams, so the answer is redistribute the income.

26

Even if you gave the small teams some extra cash to enter what difference would that make? The bigger teams would still spend the same or more! What you need to take into account is the relativity and expertise levels between teams. If the grid was reduced to sixteen cars would the racing be any worse? No, it would possibly be better as there would be no distraction and impediments placed on the best cars to race unimpeded. What F1 needs is twelve teams with the necessary finances to compete without going bust by expecting to crash the winning party as part of their contingency plan. Either that or the top teams enter three cars. At least the latter plan would allow more competition between drivers and teams. It would also allow new drivers a better platform upon which to launch their careers

27

Thank you guys for the serious covering of this story. The news at Autosport.com was that they had glimpsed an image of an 2017 F1 car in a Manor “farewell” picture. The focus was not the demise of a F1 team, but a picture of a scale model the design team was modeling for the wind tunnel. I’m outraged.

28

So in total they only gained 3 points !!!!!
Says alot about the team.
It’s pointless to be a team scrubbing the rubber for other teams to do the fast qualifying times in Q1. No doubt another lower team will be next in line for the chop. Sad but that’s racing.

29

Sorry to read this. 200+ out of work due to F1’s bizarre prize money allocation system is no joke…and also sorry as the Manor was the best looking paint job on the grid, in a time of paint-work conservatism and propensity for primary colours and black. Shame.

30

In a circus, every actor should earn enough to make a living. Formula-1, even though it is an exclusive small circus of about a dozen high tech artists (and they won’t have everyone join this club), earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but fails to pay their members enough, so a smaller team can survive. It’s a shame. The small teams are as much part of the show as the large ones. Every team that makes it into F1 and makes the 107% on a regular basis should earn enough money to keep this up. This is, simply put, Bernie’s fault. A proper concorde agreement could have been possible, but he tried to play divide an conquer with the manufacturers. And there won’t be any change before 2020.

31

What a conundrum !!!
F1 min line-up is 20 cars.
So I guess F1G has to fill the grid w/ 2017 spec tires test mules from Ferrari/Mercedes/RBR.

If I recall it correctly, even if the team rights holder has a new buyer, the F1G has to approve it to be able to compete.
Anyway, until 2020 when the Concorde “Agreement” expires Manor is a bad business in a structural financial way.

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