It emerged today that the future of Manor Racing MRT could be under threat, with sources claiming the squad could be headed for administration, whilst Sky News have reported this morning that parent company Just Racing Services Ltd, are set to instruct FRP Advisory to act as administrator.
The Banbury based team have been trying hard to source an investor to allow them to continue in F1 in 2017, but recent negotiations with American investors, believed to have been headed up by race promoter Tavo Hellmund, appear to have fallen on death ears, whilst talks with other potential suitors have not come to fruition either.
If no deal can be struck then that could signal the end of Manor’s time in F1 once again, having risen from the ashes of Marussia before the start of last season, when they ceased trading after amassing £35 million of debt.
The team had looked set to finish in tenth place in the constructor’s standings in 2016, having scored one point early on in the season through driver Pascal Wehrlein’s strong performance in Austria, but were knocked for six at the penultimate round of the season in Brazil when Felipe Nasr came home in ninth place.
That result saw the Brazilian score two points, moving the Sauber F1 Team above Manor, and seeing them wave goodbye to around £15 million in prize money in the process.
Manor’s owner Stephen Fitzpatrick did not seem too concerned about the situation when speaking to motorsport.com at the time, stating they had planned for such eventualities.
“Not a deal-breaker. It doesn’t help financially, but the terms of our agreement have been… re-finalised, let’s say. It was clear that in 10th place with one point on the board, two races left, that there are lots of scenarios and you plan for those in advance.
“So, from my point of view it’s disappointing but it’s not unexpected – or at least not a surprise.”
Whilst Race Director Dave Ryan was equally optimistic about the coming season.
“We know we still have big strides to make, but it’s a challenge we are all looking forward to as we strive to move Manor up the grid in 2017.”
With no drivers currently lined up to race for them in 2017, both current pilots having moved on to other team’s for next year, the future does not look bright for Manor.
Sources indicate that the 200 staff at their headquarters are likely to be told the news later today. Representatives from Manor Racing MRT are yet to comment on the developments so far.