It is almost February and the new F1 season in now less than two months away. There is still a huge question mark hanging over Manor Race Teams participation in the 2017 season.
After a bleak few weeks of news, promising news broke late last week which suggest the team is now on the brink of a takeover from an yet unnamed consortium from South East Asia.
Even if the takeover is successful, the team will likely not be attending either of the pre-season testing in Barcelona in late February and early March. It remains to be seen if a new MRT06 will be able to be put together in time so a short-term fix may involve the MRT05 being updated with the required parts to meet the new spec rules.
However, it would be a painful few races with the new 2017 cars reportedly 4-5 seconds fasters than their 2016 counterparts. Failing to meet the required 107% rule is a distinct possibility in this scenario.
Another option is to miss the first three fly away races which is within the rules and join the grid with the new car on race four.
Personally, if it can be avoided I would prefer them to avoid going down the route as a) I’ve paid for my flights to Melbourne already and b) with the new spec rules and the tradition high rate of attrition on the first few races present one of the very few chances of scoring points by just turning up.
Clearly the team faces a number of challenges to even make the grid next season, never mind being competitive. However, I do not believe it is all gloom and doom. Infact if I was looking at the forthcoming Formula One season with the motor racing betting options at William Hill I’d wager that even with despite the turmoil, with a bit of luck, beating Sauber next season is not beyond the realm of fantasy.
As Sauber showed at Sao Paulo last season, it only takes one freak race to overturn a bad situation and deflect the crisis onto another team. Sauber also showed that with mid-season investment, dramatic improvements can be made in a car when proper investment is made into an organisation and the correct people are hired in key positions and money is spent on R&D.
In reality, these are all problems for another day. The most important thing for the moment is that the takeover is complete soon and that 200 hard working people are given the job security they deserve.
We will be happy just to see the MRT06 see the light of day no matter how slow it is as long as it keeps those hard working folks back in Banbury in a job.