Formula 1 worse off following Manor demise – Lowdon

Graeme Lowdon admits he was saddened by Manor Racing's demise ahead of the 2017 F1 season - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Graeme Lowdon has spoken out about his sadness that Manor Racing MRT are not on the Formula 1 grid in 2017, but he feels there was no reason why they shouldn’t have been able to survive.

When Stephen Fitzpatrick pulled the plug on the team at the end of 2016 after failing to break into the top ten in the championship – and subsequently losing out on a lot of prize money as a result – Formula 1 lost it’s smallest and pluckiest team, even though 2016 was it’s most competitive season.

Lowdon worked with the Manor Formula 1 team until the end of 2015 before he and John Booth walked away from the outfit after a difference of opinion with Fitzpatrick about the direction of the team, but he felt the team could have survived into 2017 and have been on the grid.

“My own view was that Manor had every chance of surviving in any case,” said Lowdon to “Nothing changed in their commercial model. A few years ago, we had to navigate some very difficult things because we’d signed up for one commercial landscape and then instantly it was changed.

“But it’s been quite stable the last couple of years. There has been no change in the prize structure, no change in everything.

“So I was extremely disappointed to see MRT go because I knew a lot of people who worked there and they are really good people. I think a real, real shame that that happened. I’m not really sure why, because as I say, the structure was there. It was quite a clear one.

“I think it’s a shame. I think F1 is worse off without. I think it needs probably a dozen teams to give it the depth and colour and everything else like that.”

Lowdon hopes that Liberty Media will ensure a ‘clear commercial landscape’ for Formula 1 in the coming years to ensure stability, and even increase the possibility of bringing more teams onto the grid.

“[F1 needs] an absolute, clear commercial landscape with stability to allow people to plan,” added Lowdon. “Our job as managers is not to let things just happen of their own accord. It’s to manage a situation.

“We had some real extreme changes, whether it was new engines or removal of cost cap and RRA that was never adhered to. All manner of changes that were incredibly difficult. Thankfully, that’s disappeared now.

“The last two years have been extremely stable. Everyone knew what the rules were, what the prize money is. It just needs to be the same as that. There’s an awful lot than can be done to promote the sport to a wider audience still and get fans more engaged.

“I’ve always said that Formula 1’s biggest asset is the fan base, bigger than any particular team even. All of that requires some attention.”