Thursday, March 5, 2015

News: Investors confirmed as Manor heads to first race

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Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, trading as the Marussia F1 Team, has exited administration and is gearing up to take its place on the grid for the first race of the Formula 1 season in Melbourne later this month.

FRP Advisory LLP were appointed joint administrators at the end of October to the F1 team that began life as Manor Grand Prix in Dinnington, Rotherham, after it was unable to bring new investment to secure its long term future.

Formal agreement was reached with Manor's creditors through a CVA in order to allow the team to come out of administration, following new investment from businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick.

Belfast-born Fitzpatrick established Ovo Energy in 2009 with the mission is to become the UK's most trusted energy supplier by 2020. Taking on the so-called "big six" energy firms is a challenge matched only by Manor taking on Mercedes, Ferrari and McClaren.

Manor's president and sporting director will be Graeme Lowdon, who was sporting director at Marussia F1, with former Sainsbury's CEO Justin King taking over as the team's interim chairman.

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Rotherham-born John Booth (pictured), a former butcher and single-seater champion, has remained as the team principal throughout. The team was established in 2009 to compete in Formula 1 when the FIA, the sport's governing body, decided to address the current levels of spend and introduced cost-cutting measures.

Since the new investment was mooted, the team has been back at its original Dinnington HQ, having given up its Banbury base on entering administration. The team has been preparing the cars with which it will begin the 2015 season and which comply fully with the 2015 regulations. Later in the season it will introduce a new 2015 specification car as per the designs initiated last year.

Will Stevens will be an official 2015 Manor race driver with the second seat still to be announced.

Graeme Lowdon, president and sporting director at Manor Marussia F1, said: "I want to thank all of the teams, the FIA, Formula One Management, our suppliers and staff and of course all of the fans for the support we've received over the past six months. It has been a challenging period for all of us but we've come through it and now we just want to go racing again.

"With formidable new business leadership in Stephen Fitzpatrick and the board presence of Justin King we are now in a great place ahead of the new season. This is a fantastic and very rewarding moment for all those involved with the team."

Justin King, interim chairman, added: "It's a real pleasure for me to be involved in Manor. I know from the years I spent at Sainsbury's that with the right people, the right values, and sheer hard work, you can turn any business around. In Graeme and team principal John Booth we have all three and I'm fully confident that we can help Manor be competitive at the highest level of racing."

Stephen Fitzpatrick, added: "We've all worked incredibly hard to get the car ready for Melbourne and the season ahead. Our fans have given the team amazing support for many years and we want to restore Manor to the very best of racing in the future. I have a lifelong passion for Formula One and can't wait for the season ahead, with Manor and the team."

Booth's Manor Motorsport is one of the most respected names in national and international motor racing. His Dinnington operation achieved great success in Formula 3 and Formula Renault and played a major role in the development of several of today's greatest motor racing talents. Formula 1 world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton both graduated from the John Booth school of excellence.

Manor F1 website

Images: Manor Marussia

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