Manor to stay Manor

It looks like the Manor F1 team will be keeping the Manor name in 2016. The team will have Mercedes engines this year and a new chassis and the goal is to make a big impression this, although the team has yet to decide on drivers. The choice may depend to some extent on money as the operation needs cash to be able to run more competitively. There are a number of drivers talking to the team, including Kevin Magnussen, Mercedes reserve driver  Pascal Wehrlein, American rising star Alexander Rossi and Britain’s Will Stevens, plus the apparently well-supported Indonesian Rio Haryanto. The choice of driver is, of course, important, not just for money but also for the morale of the organisation, because no-one likes to compete with pay-drivers. The switch to Mercedes is clearly a big opportunity for the team and so team members are hoping to have some real talent at the wheel to make sure that every tenth is used.

26 thoughts on “Manor to stay Manor

  1. If I were a betting person (and I’m not – as that’s a fools game) I would place my money on Pascal Wehrlein on the 1st seat and the highest bidder around for the 2nd seat.

  2. One of the seats will have to be filled by a ‘pay driver’ hopefully at will allow the team to run a hotshoe in the other car.

    I can’t see another option unless the team attracts a major sponsor?

      1. Pay Driver: Team hires driver on the size of his wallet and not the extent of his talent. Simples! What’s your definition Mr Beesley?

        1. Niki Lauda took out a bank loan for his racing. Nigel Mansell re-mortgaged his house. Both were considered doubtful prospects before they drove an F1 car.

          Loads of drivers have been backed by generous individuals — eg Ronnie Peterson, Roger Williamson. Others were backed by tobacco companies because a family member had good connections.

          Definition of a pay driver is not “simples”.

          1. Totally different set of economics apply to contemporary F1 pay drivers. I doubt Lauda or Mansell would have been able to find the equivalent of $10 – $12m. Simples

            1. When Justin Wilson died, he had not paid off the money to get into F1, borrowed from places. Family and friends look after the Wilson family.

              Justin passed and we respect.

              Different economics and different perspectives, I guess.

  3. I don’t think I would rule Pascal Maldonardo out of contention. If his PDVSA funding is reduced it could still be enough to outbid the other Manor runners and riders. It would solve the PDVSA/TOTAL issue and the Venezuelans might even prefer their chances at Manor too! I still think it more likely he will still be with Renault though.

  4. Ill be disappointed if we dont see at least 1 competitive driver at Manor, and KMag would be a prime candidate.

  5. The nice thing about Manor staying Manor is that going into the team’s seventh F1 season this will remarkably be the first time the name actually graces the car itself. When the team announced it was entering F1 those seven long years ago, it was as Manor, but by the time it got to Melbourne for its debut, both the team and it cars were called Virgin. By the time it returned to Melbourne last year, the team had returned via Marussia to its original name but the cars were still called Marussia. When all the management upheavals occurred at the end of the year, I feared we were never going to see Manor become an F1 marque in its own right when it was finally on the cusp of doing so, so it’s nice that in fact we will, even if John Booth and Graeme Lowden regrettably won’t be there to see it. It’s an authentic and longstanding motorsport name and deserves to be on the list of F1 marques rather more than some.

    As for the choice of drivers and the need to bring cash to be competitive, I guess there’s a fine balance to be found between drivers who may have the talent to qualify the car better but lack the cash to develop it, and drivers who have the cash to develop it but have less talent to drive it as quickly. If you can find a driver who has both attributes, or at least plenty of one attribute and a respectable amount of the other, that would seem to be the ideal. There have been persistent reports for quite a while now that Kevin has a raft of Danish sponsors to back his considerable talent, so that would appear to be the most glaringly obvious choice if he doesn’t go to Renault. Manor may be the more competitive option for him in any case, at least in the short-term, unless he’s thinking Renault is the better long-term bet, but he spent all that time at McLaren thinking for the long-term and look where that got him.

  6. “I guess there’s a fine balance to be found between drivers who may have the talent to qualify the car better but lack the cash to develop it…”

    It ain’t nice.

  7. i think Rio will get one seat. he’s a very popular driver in Indonesia, winning their top sportsman of the year, and has alot of government and sponsor money behind him. its known that if he was to get the drive, Manor would have to do a fair bit of promotion in Indonesia, but that could be something the team’s sponsors/suppliers might benefit from anyway.
    i’m curious how much money Shazam paid for sponsoring the team. it was kinda put on last year as a token from the team but i’m sure i remember reading it was a lot of money.
    so for me, the second driver….it is tough for sure. i’d like to think it’s either Kevin or Alexander. but with the American GP in trouble, Alex maybe looked over and a driver from a country with better support may have a better chance.

  8. One wonders how much money Toto / Merc would be willing to fork out to bring Pascal to Manor. I do believe there is a strict upper limit to what they will bring.

  9. Off subject completely, I was interested to read an article from the FIA online magazine this morning (yes there is one, thought it seems to be a secret, its called “Auto”) It was about Timo Makinen and his start in rallying. it’ is here if Joe permits. Written well enough to hold my attention.

    Again it seems the FIA shuns publicity, and seems to want to operate as a secret society instead of an international governing body in the public eye.

    1. This magazine has been around a long time, in fact I have done a lot of work for it over the years. It is a really good magazine, but has never really been distributed as much as it should have been. We are in a hiatus at the moment, but I hope that one day I will again do more, when wiser heads make these kind of decisions. It is ironic that I am one of the FIA’s biggest supporters in concept, but things get complicated because I don’t always agree with what they are doing or how they do it and point out things that I think are wrong. It is healthy to have such discussions, but not everyone sees it that way. Anyway, I like the concept of the magazine and I love looking at new technology and new trends in the automobile/motorsport world and sharing that with fans.

      1. Unfortunately some people see the ability to have a view other than their own as dissent.
        I had in fact suspected that you had written articles for Auto. The production values seem to be high and polished.
        If the FIA allowed a sort of fan membership, then Auto could easily be distributed by email, RSS or facebook to listed members. Then the vast difference between the current indifference and the widely available “push” technology could be used greatly to enhance the FIA’s interaction with both the public and in particular with fans. But sadly, somehow I think they will keep the secret society model.

        Not many people realise the wealth of data available on the FIA site over a race weekend.

  10. It would be nice to see a couple of hard chargers/competitive drivers in these cars as with Merc power/Williams hardware and know how they could give the likes of Sauber/(Lotus)Renault maybe even Red Bull and McLaren a run for their money if their engines don’t improve….I think Haas may be a step ahead though..

    Put both Magnussen and Wehrlien in the cars (and keep Maldornado well away!) and I think they may have the capacity to pull off the odd surprise..

    However the fly in the ointment may be the loss of Booth and Lowden (anybody have any comments on why they actually left..?) but lets hope that they at least look competitive

  11. Rossi clearly outpaced Stevens despite less seat time in the car, so you’d think he’d be an automatic choice. Haryanto was fairly consistent in GP2 last year and might be worth a punt. Magnussen barely troubled Button in 2014, and it’s hard to know how Wehrlein stacks up.

    1. Yes you would have to argue Perez did better versus DJ Jense than Magnussen did although the Dan was much less experienced in F1.

      Magnussen did get that ace result on his debut though. That is a fairly way of measuring a talent!

  12. Is Will Stevens backed by a wealthy sponsor or is it from family connections? What sort of money would Manor be looking to receive for a drive roughly? Thank you for your time in answering questions and keep up the good work.

  13. Joe, is there a reason why you’ve not mentioned the reports that the team are to be rebranded MRT-Mercedes?

    I don’t understand why, but it’s reported Bernie prefers relatively recent teams to use initials – hence Hispania became HRT. What purpose this serves is unclear.

    Is the current news story actually related just to the official chassis name? I.e. when the full team and engine supplier are referenced, such as on certain parts of the official FOM TV graphics – similar to how often Torro Rosso are called STR or STR-Renault.

    I’d always assumed the use of STR was simply a consequence of insufficient space, as the full name was 5 characters longer than Red Bull Racing. However it could be use of STR was space related, but Manor becoming MRT is to placate Bernie’s curious predilection.

    Is the reason this article doesn’t mention MRT because the sources for the story are not 100% reliable, or because the only change relates to the technically specific MRT-Mercedes designation, whilst the normal team name (without engine supplier reference) will remain as just Manor – hence that will be the more common nomenclature used?

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