Saturday, January 28, 2017

Update: Manor Finally Closes Down

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
All of 2010's three new Formula One entries are officially dead.

Manor Racing announced yesterday that the team will almost certainly not race in 2017 after failing to find an investor, making their shutdown imminent.

To be honest, I thought this would not happen. Manor were in a very similar situation after the 2014 season and were able to make it through the administration process. ESPN F1's Kate Walker argues that Manor's demise was perhaps "inevitable" given the way prize money is structured in F1 these days. Walker does note that there is still (very) slim hope that an eleventh team will be on the grid next year, though it's very unlikely at this point.

"While the likelihood is remote, it remains possible that Manor could once again be saved at the eleventh hour. The team's entry in the F1 World Championship was held by a separate entity which has yet to enter administration or be declared insolvent. Should an interested party wish to pick up an F1 slot at a rock-bottom price, now is the time to do it."

The other big news that I was unable to write about this week (real-life work always comes first) is that Liberty Media have finally completed their F1 takeover. Furthermore, Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down from F1 entirely. One of the first things Liberty needs to do is reform the payout structure. Ferrari were the highest-earning team after 2015 despite finishing second in the championship to Mercedes. Ecclestone claimed: "We pay more money to Ferrari because they've been around a long time. Ferrari is Formula One and they deserve whatever we pay them."

Sorry Bernie, but that's not how it should work. Ferrari cannot get extra money for being Ferrari. As Autosport notes, McLaren received the fifth-highest amount of money in 2015 despite finishing ninth (of ten teams) in the championship. If that's the system in place, it's a miracle Manor survived as long as they did.

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