The Formula One grid could shrink back to 10 teams, as Manor’s future in the sport grows dimmer.
Despite coming off a strong campaign, which saw Pascal Wehrlein reach Q3 on five occasions and score one point with 10th place at the Austrian Grand Prix, the Banbury-based outfit has been looking to secure fresh investment for several months.
Manor looked set to claim P10 in the 2016 Constructors’ championship along with the associated windfall, until Sauber’s Felipe Nasr claimed ninth in a wild Interlagos event to lift the Swiss outfit past its rivals.
Current owner Stephen Fitzpatrick downplayed the significance of the loss in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year but talks with potential buyers, including American businessman Tavo Hellmund, have not reached a successful conclusion so far.
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Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman now reports that Manor will be placed into administration, barring a last-gasp rescue deal. According to the story, Fitzpatrick, who saved the team two years ago when he bought it out in its previous guise Marussia, has lined up FRP Advisory to act as the administrator.
Kleinmand adds that “Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, which holds the rights for the team's participation in F1, will continue to trade,” quoting an unnamed source with knowledge of the situation.
Manor is the only squad yet to announce its 2017 driver line-up, and Kleinman concludes his report in saying that the team does not have the financial resources to fund its testing program.
Should Manor exit F1, it would join HRT and Caterham on the scraphead. All three outfits joined the sport in 2010 on the premise that a budget cap would be implemented. Cost control never materialised though, in the wake of opposition from other teams.
Liberty Media, which is currently in the process of a takeover of Formula 1, has been reported to be looking for ways to introduce a spending cap in the near future.