We had been really looking forward to the much promised merchandise being finally released by the team. Not only so we could send some of our hard earned money the way of Uncle Stephen but also so we would no longer have to answer the numerous tweets we get daily about when the merchandise would be released. So here it is.
Disappointed? You bet we are.
Our major concerns are why a team with the best looking car on the grid due to its funky and in your face colour scheme would release merchandise in dull grey. We are really scratching our heads at that one. If we wanted dull grey F1 merchandise we would have visited the Mercedes website. Secondly, the cost. The cheapest item costs a eye watering £22. For a crappy looking cap!!!
Now let us make clear one thing about our good selves. We would not be seen dead in a sports hat or polo shirt. Polo shirts are for people with no fashion sense, public school boys, rugby fans or for people over 50. Thankfully none of that applies to us. We would also never dream of walking around with a massive corporation logo on our body. A walking advertisement board we are not. You might think that makes us hipsters and you would probably be right!
Putin aside good taste and anti-capitalistic feelings which is handy since the next Grand Prix is in Russia. Say we took leave of our fashion senses and actually did like the polo shirts. It is an awful lot of money to pay for just a polo shirt. Especially if you are from Indonesia where the average wage per week is just over £170 per month. To put it into context we are reliable informed that Manor are asking their Indonesian fans to pay the equivalent of a mid range smart phone or down payment on a scooter for a Manor branded polo-shirt.
We started a poll on social media to see what the Indonesian fans thoughts were on this and the message is clear. It is far too expensive for them. Here are just a sample of the comments we received.
Now this is the point that really needs to be made clear. We are not quite sure who this merchandise is aimed at. We presume if you are a 50+ polo shirt and Rolex wearing type of guy who does not mind paying for overpriced merchandise then you probably want to be wearing a Ferrari or Mercedes polo shirt and not a team that hangs out at the back of the grid. This not a dig at MRT (well it kind of is) but once again F1 one is telling its younger less affluent fans that it is not interested in their support. Want to go to a Grand Prix but can’t justify the cost? Tough. Can’t afford Pay TV? Tough. Want to buy merchandise from your fav team but can’t afford an ugly polo shirt? Tough.
Just like in its social media output which made a start in heading in the right direction, then promptly stopped. Manor needs to be different and think outside the box a little. In our opinion, they need a little DIY Punk Rock spirit. They need to be cheap, cheerful and a little cheeky. If it tries to replicate the big boys in every other aspect of its off track operations then it will simply fail to capture a new audience. If they offer something that doesn’t have the corporate fat cat stench of F1 all over it they may even manage to attract a few new fans who are not based in Indonesia.
We already know for a fact that there are operations in Indonesia making unofficial Manor merchandise and selling it at a fraction of the costs of the official stuff. What is even worse, is that is actually better designed than the official stuff. We may or may not be modeling some of it below.
We want all the cash there is out there to go to Manor Race Team but on the other hand, we simply can’t fault people who would chose to buy the cheaper better looking alternative to the official merchandise. We worry that much needed money is slipping unnessecarirly through the teams hands.
Moreover, if you do decide to buy the merchandise from the F1 shop website, it appears the money will be used to support two drivers currently driving for a team in WEC.