Former Yorkshire Formula One team Manor Racing on brink of ruin again

John Booth: Formula 1 team he founded but has now left is in financial trouble once more.
John Booth: Formula 1 team he founded but has now left is in financial trouble once more.
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Manor Racing have gone into administration, leaving the Formula One future of the Banbury-based marque in doubt.

The team that began life as the Rotherham-based Virgin Racing in 2010 before moving to Oxfordshire two years later, failed to secure fresh investment ahead of the 2017 season, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 26.

Manor Racing Team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick. The F1 team has collapsed into administration after failing to secure fresh investment, putting hundreds of jobs and its participation in the new season at risk. (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire 
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Manor Racing Team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick. The F1 team has collapsed into administration after failing to secure fresh investment, putting hundreds of jobs and its participation in the new season at risk. (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire )

The move into administration puts hundreds of jobs and the team’s future in the sport at risk.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator at FRP Advisory, acknowledged the team need significant ongoing investment if they are to continue competing in F1.

He said: “The team have made significant progress under their new ownership since the start of 2015, the highlight of which included securing a constructors’ championship point in the preceding F1 season, but the position remains that operating an F1 team requires significant ongoing investment. 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 have been unable to do so within the time available.”

The team, backed by energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick after he succeeded Rotherham’s John Booth – the former team principal and founding member of the F1 operation – employs 212 staff and administrator FRP Advisory said while no redundancies have been made, the ongoing staff position is “dependent on whether new investment can be secured”.

The team’s participation in March’s season-opener Down Under will “depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity”, said FRP.

Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd – the sister company of Manor’s parent company Just Racing Services Limited, which holds the rights to compete in F1 – is not in administration.

In the final 2016 constructors’ standings, Manor finished in last place with one point. German driver Pascal Wehrlein scored that solitary point at the Austrian Grand Prix.