The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Old Boys Reunion at Manor

27-01-2016

By Winston d’Arcy.

 

The Manor/Marussia F1 team ( we’re not quite sure what their correct name for 2016 is) have been collecting a surprising number of past F1 names for the coming season. Including a few of the out-of-work Ferrari boys.

Since Stephen Fitzpatrick of Ovo Energy fame [who’s they? Ed] took over the financial burden of the failed team in February 2015 and enabled it to get through the past season, helped by a trio of pay drivers, it has surprised by not only surviving but also getting some expensive assets on board.

Firstly they have managed to get Mercedes engines and a Williams transmission and back end. That would not have come cheap.

Then in October 2015, intriguingly, the original stalwarts who had done so much to rescue Manor from extinction, team principal John Booth and sporting director Graeme Lowdon, announced they were quitting.

By year end it became obvious that Manor had moved into the Prodrive premises in Banbury, just round the corner from their-then empty unit which has now been taken over by Haas F1. Was this the beginning of a Dave Richards move into F1, something he had long wanted to do ever since he was thwarted from joining with a customer McLaren team?

Booth and Lowdon were replaced by ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan, who had to leave that illustrious  employer as the fall-guy for the Trulli/Hamilton ‘misunderstanding’ at the Australian GP in 2009.

In January of this year things stepped up further. Ex-Ferrari designer Nikolas Tombazis, who left the Scuderia in the Arrivabene clear-out at the end of the ’14 season, joined Manor as the chief aerodynamicist. His PR announcement said that “the existing design team is already very strong and I look forward to working with a great group of people to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead to help us progress through the field over the next few seasons”. These PR things don’t get any better, do they?

Then, very quickly thereafter, came the announcement that Pat Fry was to join Manor as ‘engineering consultant’. Familiar name? Yes, he was another who was a victim of the Arrivabene arrival at the Scuderia and quickly got shoved out the door.

The 2016 drivers for Manor have not been announced at the time of this writing. Maybe some more from the past? Alesi? Berger?

Or someone with a dad with deep pockets?

We’ll eagerly await.

PS: in case anyone thought that the traffic was all one way – Jock Clear from the Merc team has just been allowed to take up his new job with Ferrari having had to spend the entire 2015 season on gardening leave. It must look wonderful!