Manor F1 team collapses
The Manor F1 team have ceased trading after administrators failed to find a buyer for the outfit.
All 212 staff members at the team’s Banbury factory were sent home on Friday with all but a handful set to be made redundant on Tuesday. The workforce will be paid for January.
Administrators had been in talks with would-be buyers, including an Asian consortium, but no deal to save the team from collapse was forthcoming.
“It is deeply regrettable that the team has had to cease trading and close its doors,” said administrator for FRP Advisory Geoff Rowley.
“Manor is a great name in British motorsport and the team has achieved a great deal over the past two years, invigorated under new ownership.
“Operating and running a F1 team to the high standards demanded however requires significant ongoing investment.
“Just Racing Services Limited was put into administration at the start of January shortly after attempts to sell the business fell through at the last hurdle.
“The administration process provided a moratorium to allow for attempts to secure a long term viable solution for the team within in a very limited time-frame but sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form within what was a very tight time-frame.”
The operating company for the team, Just Racing Services Ltd, will close but the sister company which holds the F1 lience to compete in the World Championship, Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd, is not in administration.
Administrators were called in by owner Stephen Fitzpatrick, the businessman behind energy company Ovo, three weeks ago after attempts to source fresh investment for the team fell through.
It is believed Manor needed an additional £500,000 of investment to get through to F1’s winter tests at the end of February. Although administrators had been in talks with interested parties, sources close to the situation have indicated that no would-be buyer was close to striking the required deal.
“We would like to thank all the staff for their support and professionalism during this difficult process,” Rowley added.
However, the collapse of the operating company is not necessarily the end of the road for the Manor name. A buyer could still come forward at a later stage to purchase the remnants of the team, although the two-month time-frame to the start of the F1 racing season in Australia further increases the challenge. It is understood an F1 team can miss three grands prix before their entry becomes invalid.
Originally running under the Virgin name, Manor were one of three start-up teams to join the F1 grid in 2010 but were hamstrung by an expected budget cap regulation which failed to materialise.
The two other new teams, HRT and Caterham, folded in 2012 and 2014 respectively while Manor previously staved off the threat of closure after Fitzpatrick rescued them from administration two years ago.