Manor murmurings


Apologies for the silence of late folks. A mixture of real life developments catching up with me and the work required to pay for such developments.

To be fair, there was not been a great deal to write about of late. As loyal readers well know, this is not the sort of blog that just copy and pastes PR releases and passes it on as a story. If there’s a story about the team out there that we can offer a fresh insight on, we will blog away but won’t resort to click bait and journalism just to fill our space.

So what has been happening? Well Esteban Ocon has finally started to live up to his promise and has beat Pascal Wehrlein in the past two qualifying sessions. He may have inherited Rio Haryanto’s qualifying pace but it unfortunately for Esteban, he has also inherited his race strategies.

It appears, in terms of track performance, Sauber have jumped ahead of Manor which the team could well do without going into the last view races of the season. Fortunately for the team, it is not a huge jump in performance and certainly not enough to worry the point scoring teams and only a freak race will now prevent Manor from scoring that all important 10th position on the Constructors Championship. A word of caution though, freak results do occasionally happen in F1 so we won’t be popping any champagne corks just yet.

Still no word on who will pilot the cars in 2017 but as we have been saying as far back and July, don’t expect any official announcement until December at least. It seems certain the team will require one new driver with either Pascal or Esteban moving to Force India. As things stand, reportedly it is Esteban that is scheduled for the promotion. Lots could still happen however I have been told by someone as in the know as it gets, that they do not expect to see Rio drive for Manor next year.

Lots of new sponsors will be adorning the sexy MRT05 this weekend. As much as we love the car in its natural form, it is good see the team getting some stickers on the car. FlexBox are back but the eye catching Dell and Microsoft stickers will also be appearing at Austin. No word yet if this is just a one off deal or if any cash will be involved but it is good for the team to be associated with such established brands.

The teams financial health popped up in the business Section of the Sunday Times last weekend, with the below tidbit of news.

img_4074

F1 teams being loaned money by their owner is not exactly a new story it is not an extraordinary amount of money in F1 terms. If they team hold onto 10th position in the Championship then it will have been money well invested by Fitzpatrick who presumably will eventually hope to make his money back once he has sold the team on.

What the report does make clear is that whilst a wealthy man in comparison to me or you, he is not a Roman Abromavich type figure with money to throw at his new play thing. There have been reports that the team are up for the sale but there is never a time that they are not up for sale as if it continues to be run at a loss.

Jordan King will perform FP1 duties at COTA this weekend. This led to a number of copy and paste websites to proclaim that he will likely be driving for the team. He has been part of the team for a while and his progression from development driver to reserve driver not to mention his Dad’s wealth and involvement in the past with the team does suggest that he has been earmarked for a full time drive at some point. What these websites failed to mention was that King does not have a Super License for 2016 and his performances in GP2 this year did not earn him one for 2017 either. A rule change in 2016 meant that just doing mileage in a F1 car is no longer sufficient. It should also been noted that people have gotten round such issue in the past and will probably continue to do so despite the rule change.

That pretty much cover the last few weeks. Let’s hope between now and the end of the season goes as smoothly as possible!