Is Manor, Mercedes deal a good thing? I guess

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So Manor will have Mercedes power units and Williams F1’s gearboxes and suspensions in 2016? Does that mean the team will move from their coveted “get the hell out of the way” status on track to a real points contender?

The hopes of scoring points may still come down to the kind of chassis the team puts their new Merc lump and Williams gear in to. If the chassis is there or thereabouts, then this little team that could may find themselves giving the back end of the mid-field teams a run for their money. If John Booth and Grame Lowdon get it right, they could find themselves pinching Williams F1’s backside but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

A lot of detail comes down to the software and features of the power unit supplied by Mercedes. Will they have the same engines that Lewis Hamilton will run in 2016? Perhaps but will it have the same software and development as the Mercedes works team? That’s I’m not so sure about.

The bigger question? Will the team have the cash to pay for these new bits and bobs and can they sustain any sort of development track in 2016 for their chassis to continue to fight in the mid-field? That, again, I’m not so sure of.

Regardless, the team will gain a boost from some serious shove in the back of the car and that’s a good thing. With paying drivers, they will need big dollar players in order to afford these new power units so that has me concerned about Alexander Rossi’s future there as I am not sure he can bring the kinds of cash the team will be looking for presumably. They may be looking for Maldonado type level of pay-driver contributions…which, it must be said, is probably not easy to find. That’s why Pastor is still at Lotus F1/Renault for 2016.

I’m happy for them, if not a bit concerned over their ability to make the most of it given their current financial constraints. If they can’t take the Merc lump and Williams kit and be successful and you couple that with the possibility of a team like Red Bull Racing exiting the sport because they don’t have a lump, I’d say Mercedes and F1 made an error and supplied the wrong team.

Sure, Mercedes may feel safer supplying a small team like Manor with power units as they may not be a threat to the works team but I have to think that Red Bull Racing is a much more critical cog in the machine of F1 and if Merc were really confident of their abilities beyond just the power unit, then why not supply Red Bull and let’s see what you got, Paddy Lowe. Or have the team run out of Ross Brawn ingenuity bullet points in the playbook? I JEST! Lighten up folks.

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MichaelB

I can’t imagine Mercedes (or Williams for that matter) would be foolish enough to provide Manor with kit without being sure that Manor could at least pay for it in the short term. Manor may be getting it at a significant discount, especially if there’s talent of some sort included in that package. All that being said, while I expect this will make a difference, I can’t see it making a huge difference – at least not for the first year or two. I think they’ll still be a back marker – but it’s probably not unreasonable to expect that… Read more »

Negative Camber

Yeah, there was talk of a engine cap at $12 million wasn’t there? If the FIA can get that approved, then maybe Manor’s expense is slightly more manageable.

Tom Firth

This is all that came from the WMSC meeting, which is when this was supposed to be approved …. “The WMSC approved the proposal of the F1 Commission regarding regulations for power unit and gearbox changes. Such penalties prior to qualifying will be applied based on the time of use. For changes made after qualifying, preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a change will occur.” It doesn’t give specific mention to cost saving for Power unit and gearboxes, which is what the proposal of the F1 commission was, after the strategy… Read more »

Patrick Chapman

Most people out there have a soft spot for the underdog and I am no different. I have great respect for the doggedness and resolve of Manor to come out of administration and return to the grid even though they knew that they would be permanent back markers. We all like to dream up different scenarios that could play out during 2016 and I have my own but either way I wish them all the luck and wish for them that they pick up a few points so that they can share in the TV revenue with the big teams.… Read more »

Patrick Chapman

It has been reported that Manor will be getting the same fuel and lubricants from Petronas that Mercedes are getting. In order to get the benefits power wise from this new fuel, they have to run the same spec combustion system and software as Mercedes are currently running. This could very well mean that Manor will be running the same spec PU as Mercedes. That will be a huge boost in straight line performance for Manor. I can’t wait to see Will Stevens overtaking a Mclaren down the straights. (dreaming again) But what the heck, could be fun.

charlie white

Manor chose Mercedes power over Ferrari in 2016. Not exactly a dumb move on their part. Isn’t Merc power cheaper than the Ferrari customer engines? But what about the rest of the car beyond the Williams-sourced rear suspension and gearboxes? For a team walking a financial tightrope, how are they paying for this power upgrade or has Manor become MB-AMG’s drivers’ development team?

michael in seattle

You all are really underestimating Stephen Fitzpatrick (owner of Manor/Marussia), and his check book. This guy (mid-30’s) is no slouch. He has the money to spend and the commitment to his F1 team. Along with Graeme Lowden and John Booth, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.