Formula 1 team, Manor racing, have today folded after failing to find a buyer in time after previously being in administration. Three weeks ago we reported that Manor had gone into administration (link to that article below) and FRP Advisory have failed to find a buyer to save the Banbury outfit. Possibly the worst part about this is that around 200 jobs have been lost by the closure of the Manor factory.
Read More; Manor Go Into Administration: http://ltmsport.com/manor-go-into-administration/
This is just a few days after Ross Brawn stated that one of his aims were to prevent this happening to the small teams as has been the case in the past. But, in truth, Manor’s fate was sealed when they finished bottom of the constructors’ championship and announced losses of £11m. That £11m is just a fraction of what teams like Ferrari receive just for taking part in the sport, they could’ve been saved so easily.
It is very sad news as Manor have been one of the underdog teams of F1 since they entered back in 2010 (back then they were known as Virgin Racing). It also means that the three new teams that joined the sport seven years ago all now cease to exist. HRT went in 2012 and Caterham in 2014. Looking back on it now, it’s a minor miracle that Manor lasted for seven years with all that they have been through but now it seems it’s well and truly over.
Why has this happened?
Money, or lack thereof. Manor have reported that they had made a loss of around £11m in 2016. Now, that may not seem like that much in F1 terms but for a small independent team like Manor, it’s huge. They likely took a financial risk by over-spending on development of the car in the hope that it would get them a higher constructors championship position. And this worked… for a while.
The team was no doubt buzzing after Pascal Wehrlein crossed the line in Austria in a points position as it lifted them above Sauber and into 10th. Neither team scored a point for most of the rest of the season but then came Brazil…
Ocon of Manor and Nasr of Sauber spent much of the race in the points as a deluge made for a crazy race. Later on, normality seemed to be restoring itself as Ocon slipped out of the points. But Felipe Nasr came home in ninth place to elevate Sauber above Manor in the constructors table. This was disastrous for Manor as last place in the standings would gain them absolutely no prize money. Cheers Bernie.
If they had finished in tenth, then that monetary loss would likely have been turned into a several million-pound gain for the year. And it’s incredibly ironic how Felipe Nasr may be the one to send Manor out of existence when the Banbury outfit would’ve been his best chance to stay in the sport in 2017. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
What needs to be done to stop this happening again?
I asked this very same question after Manor had been placed into administration a few weeks ago and I’m going to give a similar response. There’s no way to stop teams leaving the sport, manufacturers and businesses come and go, it’s the way it’s always been. But when new teams regularly can’t handle the high costs of the sport you know that there is a fundamental problem with the system. The easiest way to stop this from happening is to restructure the prize money awarded to teams. There is no way that a team should get no reward for completing a 21-race season across five continents, it’s just not sustainable.
Credit where it is due, though, the teams have agreed to reduce the cost of engines. But this only comes into effect for 2018 so no benefits will be seen until then. That being said, though, Formula 1’s new owners, Liberty Media, have stated that they want to make big changes to the sport, including the restructuring of the prize money, and I hope that they keep their promises.
Hopefully this will be the last time I report on a team leaving the pinnacle of motorsport in such disastrous conditions…