The Manor team’s descent into administration hasn’t really come as a surprise. Almost two years since they were initially saved from liquidation by investor Steven Fitzpatrick, the team have once again succumbed to the financial turmoil that competing in Formula One has put them in.
Their future appeared brighter after Pascal Wehrlein scored a point which at one stage looked like it would carry them to 10th place in the constructors’ standings. The monetary boost that would have accompanied that result would have gone a long way towards funding their efforts for 2017. It was reminiscent of the late Jules Bianchi scoring a remarkable point for Manor’s previous form – Marussia that served to ensure the team could compete the following year.
Unfortunately for Manor though, history would not repeat itself and their hopes were shattered as Felipe Nasr dragged his Sauber to 9th place at the Brazilian Grand Prix to score the two points his team needed to recapture that all important 10th place in the standings. The ultimate hammer blow, as once again Manor would head into the winter break with zero prize money.
It is unfortunate for the whole of Formula One that teams like this are doomed to remain in a constant struggle. They looked to have made some acceptable progress during testing and into the opening rounds of the season, but then they were comprehensively overwhelmed by the rate of development of teams around them. By mid-season, Manor were rock bottom in the pecking order.
Even if the team succeed in finding a buyer and remain in the sport next year, it seems inevitable that they will continue to struggle right through the year. Any money that is initially brought in will need to be heavily supplemented throughout the season fund development. Their only chance of becoming financially stable is to break into the more lucrative midfield positions which remains reliant on them being able to compete.
The sad fact is that we have seen multiple teams in Formula One suffer the same problems as Manor. Lotus, HRT and Caterham have all in the space of four years fallen by the wayside. Force India and Sauber have come extremely close to a similar fate. Formula One is slowly becoming an unsustainable pursuit, hopefully with input from Liberty Media, something can be done to ensure that F1 maintains a secure entry list.
I am sure that over the course of 2017, more will become clear about the future of Formula One and its financial organisation. I think it’s about time this nonsensical situation was eradicated.