On the 27th of January, It was officially announced that the Manor F1 Team dream was at an end. The administrators had failed to find a buyer, and that was that.
Some people will remember Manor as a back marker team, simply there to make up the numbers. Others may not remember them at all. I will remember them as a team with limited budget, limited experience and unlimited heart.
Manor (known as Virgin Racing at the time) entered the sport in 2010 alongside Hispania and Lotus. Hugely limited testing and recent major regulation changes meant the teams were unable to get up to competitive speed in time for their arrival. This resulted in all three teams being hugely off the pace, and point scoring results were nowhere near achievable.
Whilst Hispania folded at the end of 2012 having failed to score a single point, Virgin and Lotus soldiered on under new ownership.
Despite the heartbreak surrounding Maria De Villota’s accident and subsequent death, the team pushed on and scored their first championship points at Monaco in 2014. Jules Bianchis’ 9th place finish was seen as the start of a new chapter, but tragedy would strike again. The talented Frenchman was killed after suffering fatal injuries in an incident at the Japanese Grand Prix the same year.
Over the winter in 2014 the team looked like it had reached the end of the road, but unlike Lotus who folded, they found a buyer and were able to continue right up until the end of 2016, scoring their final points at the Austrian GP with Pascal Wehrlein.
Above video uploaded to Youtube by “polenta478”.
In the face of adversary and tragedy whilst on a heavily restricted budget, Manor Racing always maintained their immense spirit and love of the sport. Always an under-dog, they kept on pushing until it was no longer possible and for me, are true plucky Brits.