Feb.5 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Rumours are now swirling around the future of the ailing backmarker formerly called Marussia.
It emerged on Wednesday that the John Booth-founded ‘Manor’ outfit is planning to exit administration later this month ahead of an effort to return for the 2015 season.
According to speculation, however, the first obstacle may be met as early as Thursday, despite reports a consortium headed by former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King is powering the revival effort.
On Thursday, the sport’s powerful strategy group will meet in Paris, and it is there that Manor may fail to secure unanimous support to allow it to run the old Ferrari-powered 2014 car this season.
“I cannot imagine that we would agree,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko confirmed to the German-language f1-insider.com.
And others, like the similarly-struggling Force India and Sauber, may also object on the basis that they might otherwise hope to benefit from millions in official prize-money earmarked for Manor’s ninth placed finish last year.
Manor, however, is hopeful. Reporting from Jerez, veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit said he has heard that former Marussia employees have been summoned to Dinnington.
It there, at the company’s F3 headquarters, where the reborn Manor outfit would need to be based, after the Banbury facility was sold to 2016 entrant Haas.
Whether Manor has enough staff to prepare a return bid for Melbourne, however, is unclear.
A Williams insider said: “We have taken on many Caterham and Marussia people.”
Another issue will be drivers. The Ferrari-backed Jules Bianchi remains seriously injured, while Max Chilton has headed Stateside to begin a quest for an Indycar seat.
Writing for the Telegraph, correspondent Daniel Johnson claims Chilton’s management was late in making his latest $12 million payment to Manor, “which soured the relationship”.
The latest rumour is that Kevin Magnussen could be a frontrunner for 2015, with McLaren to possibly step up its relationship so that Manor becomes a Honda ‘B-team’.
McLaren sources immediately denied those claims, and Johnson in fact claimed arch-rival Ferrari is in fact “central” to Manor’s new hopes, probably in a bid to recover millions in unpaid engine debts.