RIP: Manor F1 team

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Several months on and here we are again, announcing the untimely death of yet another Formula 1 team—a team that has already faced one impending doom only to be rescued, as one escaping from flames, to find its fortunes dashed after having been resurrected for a 2016 season campaign.

Manor was born as one of three new entries to the improved and cheaper Formula 1 era that wasn’t and isn’t. On one hand, it was great to see new privateers enter the sport but on the other hand, they did so with a new hybrid power unit they could never afford. Both HRT and Caterham/Lotus folded leaving Manor, then Marussia, to fight on but even that came to an end and the team were saved by Stephen Fitzpatrick and his energy money. Now that savior has faulted and the team’s employees and drivers will now face unemployment as the administrator, FRP Advisory, have closed the doors.

Two weeks ago news was they were speaking with interested groups and things were looking better but apparently those talks have faltered and the team will now cease to be. FRP said in a statement:

“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.

“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.”

It’s a sad story as this was the “new team” that I had chosen to rally behind and now they will be no more. The team of hard-working professionals are now seeking other opportunities and this is the environment that Liberty Media has walked in to with their new acquisition of Formula 1.

One wonders if they couldn’t have found a way to keep them going for a complete grid in 2017. Now Liberty Media will face the challenge of two fewer cars on the grid, everyone finishing in the top 10 and getting prize money and fans grumbling about the inequity of the F1 payment system.

A shame as the team were strong customers for Mercedes power units and one also wonders why they may not have been an interesting junior team for the like the Red Bull Toro Rosso team. Perhaps carrying two balance sheets in the sport isn’t something they are interested in when they can simply place their junior drivers at teams who rely on the power units—that comes in handy doesn’t it?


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would it ever make sense for liberty / fom to buy teams in this situation and hold on to them until suitable owners can be found. similar to what the mlb did with the the expos and nba with the hornets/ pelicans. to insure 24 cars for the races.

Salvu Borg

In my opinion that will be the biggest conflict of interest ever on Gods green earth of sports.


no more than the examples I named. Now these teams are on sure footing .

Dr T

Actually – there’s alot of brown earth now… and wet bits… climate change and all

Tim C.

Something just doesn’t smell right here. The current owner would rather close the doors and get nothing than sell the team and make some sort of profit. There’s got to be more going on here that were not privy to. There had to be some sort of “red flag” that kept a deal from being made with a potential buyer. I have absolutely no facts to back this up, but there’s got to be more to this story.


I think the “more” is that there is no long-term viability for a small team as of now. Any potential investor would want to know what guarantees there are that this wouldn’t just happen to them.. and there are none. Maybe Liberty can change that in the future, but right now it’s basically impossible for team fighting for 10th place to sell to a private party because it’s an obviously bad investment.

If they could get backed by a manufacturer, that would be a different story, but there just wasn’t enough time.

Salvu Borg

The operating company closed its doors but the F1 license holder company still stands. it is still not the end of the road yet, a buyer could still come and buy.
A deal offer was put on the table by CGF, CGF had advised the clients to do an extensive due diligence, a “big red” in the due diligence done for the sale was the involvement of Manor/Marussia in the fatal accident of Bianchi and others (possible liability). lawyers involved are same names as Fitzpatrick used when he acquired the team.


Are the F1 licences for Caterham and HRT still available, or is Manor the only ‘live’ licence available to a new F1 investor?

Salvu Borg

No the Caterham and HRT license are long gone.


So if the Manor licence carries the potential liability from the Biancci death, any new team is going to have to front the cost of a new licence. Unless LM change those rules……..

Salvu Borg

if the receivership can get rid of the potential liability, then it will be
more easy for someone to come in and buy.


RIP Max Mosley’s plan to open a way for new ‘Garagista’ teams into F1.
It is fitting, in a sardonic way, that Manor leave at the same time as Bernie E, it seemed that he was implacably opposed to more than 20 cars on the grid.
I wonder if Liberty Media are interested in growing the grid, and if they are, what kind of strategy will they develop to induce new teams to enter F1?

Salvu Borg

According to what I read LM wants to grow F1 to a full grid of 24-26 cars.


I wonder what sorts of teams they anticipate attracting? Manufacturers, or privateers? Hopefully not growing the grid by allowing three car teams!

Keith Russell

Bernie should buy it, imagine Bernie as a team owner on the otherside of the table, he’d love that negotiation!


Now that the doors are closed, the chance of getting a car to the grid for 2017 decreases with every passing day. Until Liberty fixes the situation with regards to payouts, its just a terrible investment without some sort of guarantee (e.g. manufacturer support) that you’ll be fighting mid-pack rather than for 10th.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x