Monday, March 7, 2016

Mind over Manor, Sports Cars v F1, One lump or Two?

Pretty clever, eh? Although its somewhat difficult to do with there being two rival Manor factions currently - which contrary to popular belief are owned by two totally different persons, or at least they should be, even if not so on paper...

Although it seems a travesty that the founders of the Minnowesqe Formula 1 Constructor Manor Grand Prix, wooed into thy pinnacle 'O motorsports over six years ago by Sir maXXam, nee Mad Max Mosley won't be on the grid this year to see the fruition of their hard fought efforts. Nonetheless I'll guess that John Booth and Graeme Lowdon will be there in spirit along with forging new paths of their own.

Since it still seems a bit odd that Manor Grand Prix team founder John Booth and former CEO Graeme Lowdon resigned somewhat abruptly last October from then Manor Marussia F1, albeit finishing out the season before apparently telling its new owner he's Number One!

As I-T would be Blasphemy to Mwah if John Booth has also lost the legacy associated with his longtime established Manor Motorsport company, as the newly constituted Manor Racing shouldn't be claiming A-L-L the past single seater championships won before their apparent Takeover; Err Merger...

As Booth, now 61yr old, along with Lowdon will see long established Manor Motorsport racing in the FIA's World Endurance Championship's LMP2 category this year with Taiwan's Tor Graves having inked a two year contract as lead driver of their customer Oreca-Nissan chassis.

As the new Manor Sports Car team will race against the likes of Extreme Speed Motorsports, (ESM) winners of this year's Rolex 24, spearheaded by the lightning quick Pico Derani! SPM Racing's Nicolas Minassian, China's BAXI DC Racing with Ho-Pin Tung at the controls and Mexico's RGR Sport by Morand with Bruno Senna - to name just a few of the  overall LMP2 competitors.

Meanwhile, the other Man in the picture, Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of OVO Energy, who saved Marussia F1 from Administration with a $30m cash infusion last year, has rebranded the past Manor Marussia F1 Team as simply Manor Racing, which ironically takes over the name previously utilized by the Marussia Manor GP3 team that folded in the fall of 2014.

Fitzpatrick, for whom Booth and Lowdon clashed with, has firmly rested control of the Formula 1 team which has now become a home for ex-McLaren men Davey Ryan, Nicholas Tombazis  and Pat Fry.

As Fry will work alongside fellow colleague Dave Ryan, Manor's Sporting Director who left McLaren in 2009 after 35yrs upon becoming the Scapegoat for Lewis Hamilton's foggy recollections to race stewards!

While Fry will also reunite working alongside Nicholas Tombazis, who was chief designer at Scuderia Ferrari for all of Michael Schumacher's world championships along with Kimi Raikkonen's, before the pair were ousted from Maranello in 2014.

While Manor Racing's 2016 F1 challenger certainly will be a step forward with the addition of the all-mighty Mercedes Power Unit discarded by Renault's purchase of Lotus, along with the necessary running gear, i.e.; gearbox and suspension components being supplied by Team Willy', aka Williams F1.

As the  only thing missing from Manor Racing at the beginning of February was who'd be piloting the cars? Or more directly, which aspiring Formula 1 Pilotes' are bringing the biggest cheques? As Indonesia's Rio Haryanto seemed to be leading the pack with his sizeable state funded dowry.

With Mercedes reserve driver and reigning DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein appearing close on Haryanto's heels - Presumably with a "Sweetheart" deal upon the team's supply of Mercs' as Wehrlein was the Factory team's reserve driver.

America's Alexander Rossi and Britain's Will Stevens who drove for Manor last year were also possible candidates - whilst apparently last year's other racer, Spain's Roberto Merhi is looking elsewhere.

As whispers grew over Manor simply taking the biggest cheque for their second seat, the final seat unoccupied on the 2016 Formula 1 grid. Manor Racing finally confirmed their driver selection just a scant four days prior to  the season's first round of Formula 1's 2016 "Winter Olympics," nee winter testing being held in Barcelona February 22-25 - with the second and final 4-Day test occurring March 1-4.

As I haven't had a chance to puruse Thy Web upon returning home from Up North Eh! In regards to testing times...

While I'm very disappointed that Manor took the cash over the experience, albeit limited time behind the wheel of a Formula 1 chassis enjoyed by Alexander Rossi last year, who finished two places ahead of Haryanto in GP2 last season...