Some things are worth saving, like energy, money and Manor GP


Manor GP was worth saving. That’s the word. The word from Ovo Energy founder Stephen Fitzpatrick. Ovo…that’s a word? It is now and it was voted “Top Energy Provider” in 2011 even after it boiled a few bottoms in a Parliamentary Select Committee meeting stating that prices had gone down on gas instead of up which other UK energy folks were saying. Oops.

There’s a story in that controversial move by Fitzpatrick in that here’s a guy who apparently says it like it is. Or at least the way he sees it. Next thing you know, he’ll be sitting in the grandstands in Australia demonstrating over not being able to bring the executive board of Sainsbury’s to a race due to a lack of paddock passes for new Manor Chairman, Justin King, to hand out to buddies.

Fitzpatrick has been weaving a great story about how he saved the Manor GP team and I think it’s terrific. He reckoned it was just too good of a story of rags-to-rags to let go. I agree. He told the press:

“It seemed fascinating – almost hopeless. It looked like one of those situations that with more time to understand everything, there was maybe a great opportunity.

“But it was too late. There wasn’t any realistic possibility of reviving the team.

“Having made it through the hard five years, to get to the point of ninth in the championship, two years in the top 10, to reach the first rung of financial stability and due to receive fund money, to have run out of steam right at the last hurdle… it seemed like too good story to let end there.

“One of the things that really motivated me was how great a story it could be to figure out a way to help this team cling to survival.”

That’s a great story and many livelihoods were depending on this salvation so it’s a good thing it came through. That’s not the real cut of his jib though…not for me anyway. No, I like how he’s working the words:

“Until November last year I was on wrong side of F1 fence,” Fitzpatrick said.

“My most recent F1 experience was I went to the grand prix in Singapore with a friend, we were walking down the track at the end of the race and looking at all the fans lined up on the pitwall – and looking at garages. I said we need to figure out a way to get over there.

“For a long time I had an ambition to own an F1 team, I was hoping Ovo Energy would be successful enough to own a team, but I didn’t expect it to be in 2015.”

That’s pretty darn good right there! Just a goober like the rest of us on the outside of the fencing holding a General Admission ticket nose pressed against the cold, hard metal and dreaming that one day he’d be able to get a peek into the paddock for some selfies and an autograph of the Elderly F1 Fan. I mean we’ve all been there, right? Except that this particular goober happens to own an energy company worth millions…oh yeah, there’s that. He also knows a guy who many were tipping as Bernie Ecclestone’s replacement, Justin “the King” King. Color me reactionary but if Justin couldn’t get Stephen a paddock pass, I’ll be in the stands with Maurizio protesting like hell!

I’m not saying it is but IF it is, false humility really leaves me cold. I love the fact that Stephen has chosen to create a financial environment for Manor that is a tale of the phoenix from the ashes and that’s good enough for me.

The big challenge for Fitzpatrick will be trying to figure out how to get more than $69m in total revenue for the team and what, if any, debt he assumed under the administration agreement with creditors.

All that said, I offer a big congratulations to Manor GP and a HUGE thank you to Mr. Stephen Fitzpatrick. He also seems to be a fan of clean energy and isn’t that what F1 is all about these days?


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