Hellmund confirms interest in Manor

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American businessman Tavo Hellmund has confirmed his interest in purchasing Manor, and says he wants Dale Earnhardt Jr to drive for the team.

Hellmund has been instrumental in bringing F1 back to the United States with the race in Austin, while he also worked on the Mexican Grand Prix which returned to the calendar this year. He has now announced he is interested in team ownership as he seeks to lead a group's attempts to purchase Manor.

“It would never be our goal to compete with the manufacturer teams," Hellmund told the Austin American-Statesman. "We’re never going to spend $400 million a year like Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. But we think you can run it respectably and not be in the red. I think you can fight for fifth.”

And one of the reasons Hellmund says his group is interested in Manor stems from its Mercedes engine deal.

“Manor Marussia cut a deal to be able to have Mercedes motors next year, which is a step forward as opposed to a year and one-half old Ferrari spec engine."

However, Hellmund warns the engine deal would need to remain in place and a full review of team finances would need to take place quickly to enable a takeover to happen by the start of next season.

“I think if we get to late January or February, it may be too late, and my partners and I would probably lose interest."

Hellmund also revealed NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr would be his first choice driver for the team next season, with Alexander Rossi his second - and more likely - candidate for a seat.

Manor's current bosses - John Booth and Graeme Lowdon - have tendered their resignations from the team following a disagreement with owner Stephen Fitzpatrick.

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