Jun.5 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Manor has let Fabio Leimer put his “foot in the formula one door”, the 2013 GP2 champion said in Montreal.
Swiss Leimer, 26, is determined to become the first champion of the feeder series to secure a place on the grand prix grid since 2011’s Romain Grosjean.
In 2012 and 2014 respectively, champions Davide Valsecchi and Jolyon Palmer both tried and failed.
2013 champion Leimer also looked to have failed, after his backer Rainer Gantenbein offered a low two-digit million sum around the F1 paddock but could not secure a seat for his charge.
It is believed Gantenbein has now given up.
Leimer and his manager Sven Mangold, however, did not.
Leimer has secured a reserve seat at the struggling backmarker Manor, and the Swiss newspaper Blick reports that his Friday driving duties could begin in two weeks in Austria.
There, the quest to attract sponsors that would fund a full race seat will really begin, manager Mangold confirmed.
“Actually, I cannot say anything yet, but everything depends on the sponsors,” he admitted.
Mangold admits he was “too optimistic” earlier this year, when sponsors promised to fund a Super Formula seat in Japan for Leimer but then failed to follow through.
This time, they are looking for F1 funding.
“We are working day and night,” said Mangold.
To date, no sponsorship or race seat contracts have been signed, and so Leimer cannot even apply for a FIA super licence.
But “Once we have the all clear, the procedure takes a maximum of ten days,” said Leimer.