Team faces closure, track under pressure

Formula 1 appears to be set for double trouble as the company that operates Manor Formula 1 has gone into administration, casting doubt over the future of the team 2017, while the British Racing Drivers Club is considering dumping the British Grand Prix at Silverstone after this year’s race. 

Manor staff were called to a meeting to be informed that hopes of finding an investor to save the outfit had failed on Wednesday before Wednesday’s administration. The administrator has however indicated that no redundancies of the 212 staff at the team had yet been made, but he admitted that there was limited time to try to find a solution.

“Operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment,” the administrator’s statement confirmed. “Team management has regrettably has been unable to do so and have been left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration.

“The joint administrators are currently assessing options for the Group and quick solution with any interested parties will be necessary for the team to be able to make the season opener in Australia on March 26.”

In a separate development, Silverstone owner, the British Racing Drivers’ Club has confirmed that it is considering activating a break clause to drop the British Grand Prix and end its deal to host the British GP until the end of 2019 as a result of the excessive cost of hosting the annual F1 race.

“Your board would like to preserve the BGP at Silverstone for many years to come, but only if it makes sense to do so,” BRDC chairman John Grant has informed members in a note “We have to protect our Club against the potentially ruinous risk of a couple of bad years.

“Without some change in the economic equation, the risk and return are out of kilter, and so we are exploring various ways in which this might be altered.

“Among other alternatives, the Board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 BGP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the BGP contract at the end of 2019. "This is not a simple decision, and we will consider fully all the implications before coming to a conclusion by mid-year.”

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has however suggested that other tracks had contacted about replacing Silverstone. “If they want to activate a break clause, there is nothing we can do,” he told ITV. “Two other tracks have contacted us and we are keen to keep a British Grand Prix, there is no doubt about it, we want to have one. “As far as Silverstone is concerned, it's not in our hands.”

Did someone say Brexit…?