It seems the new team, Manor Grand Prix, is feeling a little unsure about their involvement in next years F1 competition now that Max Mosley’s budget cap concept has been all but buried. John Booth, Manor GP team boss, has hinted that until he sees the actual revised Concorde Agreement, it is difficult to comment on. Manor GP made no bones about their interest in F1 purely based upon Mosley’s 40 million Pound budget cap system but with Formula One Teams Association’s (FOTA) recent deal with the FIA, there will be a glide path down from current spending until it reaches early 1990’s levels.
But all of this is academic as the Guardian reported today that FOTA is preparing a formal complaint concerning Manor Grand Prix’s involvement in the 2010 F1 championship. It was revealed this week that FIA right-hand man Alan Donnelly has been linked to the team through his company’s PR person. The Guardian said:
Jane Nottage, an associate director of Donnelly’s Sovereign Strategy, is understood to be running the public-relations strategy for Manor, albeit on a pro-bono basis. Donnelly also personally escorted a senior Manor executive around the paddock at a European grand prix, introducing him to team representatives ahead of Manor’s inclusion next season.
There are also concerns about the Manor GP designer Nick Wirth. Wirth was involved with Max Mosley in their failed Simtek venture and is now working as the designer for Manor GP. Color me reactionary but I have never understood the Nick Wirth/Max Mosley connection. The man was born in 1966, placing him younger than I am, who just somehow happens to charm Mosley out of his cash and fund a team that this man would run at the ripe age of 23? Seriously? A man aged 23 running an F1 team with the backing of the sports governing body President? What’s wrong with this picture? When Simtek folded, their debt was approximately $10MM according to reports.
What exactly is it that would find Mosley backing a young man out of university with that much capital and responsibility? He may be a genius of epic proportions when it comes to designing a car but at 23, what does he know about running a company or team? He then worked for the FIA in 2006 on a split rear wing design the organization was considering for the 2008 season. Here in the States you only get that kind of backing if you were a relative or a son. Not sure how they do things in the United Kingdom but if memory serves correctly there is still a Peerage list and it makes you wonder just who Nick Wirth is and is there any residual relationship between he and Mosley.
A close associate of Donnelly’s was quick to say that he the Chief of Stewards has “no direct involvement” with Manor and I assume the same phrase would be used should one ask what Mosley’s involvement with Wirth or Manor is. Fair enough, I think we are all smart enough to know that “indirect” involvement, when it concerns Max Mosley, is as good as “direct” control. Either way I will break it down in the math that Nick Wirth can understand; one and one are equaling three in this equation and I smell nepotism or some unearthed connection between Mosley, Manor, Donnelly and Wirth. Supposition is usually the key to lowering what credibility one has left but my opinion is that this Manor Grand Prix team is wrought with political intention. Perhaps an indirect seat at the FOTA table as an official team in F1? A place of employment for a relative/son or a side project for your public policy company?