Manor team set for F1 season in Melbourne after rescue
LONDON (AP) — The Manor Formula One team will be on the grid for the opening race in Australia on March 15 after securing enough backing for the season ahead, although it has yet to name its second driver.
The team missed the last three races of last season after going into administration, but Manor — which has raced under the Marussia and Virgin names since entering F1 — has secured new investment from energy entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, the team’s main investor, founded British gas and electricity supplier company Ovo in 2009.
He was joined in the team’s rescue by Justin King, the former CEO of supermarket giant Sainsbury, who will initially serve as Manor’s interim chairman.
“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,” said Fitzpatrick, whose company has nearly 500,000 customers and employs 800 people. “I have a lifelong passion for Formula One and can’t wait for the season ahead.”
The team will continue to be run by sporting director Graeme Lowdon and team principal John Booth.
British driver Will Stevens, who drove for Caterham at the Abu Dhabi GP in the final GP of last season, will race for Manor this season. No announcement has been made yet as to the second driver.
The team will begin the season with an interim car, built to comply fully with 2015 regulations, before introducing a new model later in the campaign, based on designs initiated last year.
“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,” Lowdon said.