Manor unsure when they will be able to run

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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Manor’s sporting director Graeme Lowden says he is unsure when his team’s cars will be able to run after they missed both of today’s practice sessions.

Contrary to reports, Lowden said the team’s problems were not limited to a specific area.

“It’s not simply a software issue,” he said during a press conference at the circuit, “there’s a lot of issues, none of which are a big surprise really when you consider the amount of work that’s been required to get the team here in a very, very short space of time”.

“So I would say that the problems we are dealing with at present are not unusual for the task that we’re doing which is effectively setting up both track-side and on-car infrastructure for these cars to run. We’ve put our best effort in and deal with each problems sequentially and try and get through as quickly as we can and try and get running as quickly as we can.

“We literally just have to deal with the problems one at a time and I think as we steadily get through them we’ll be able to put a little bit more accuracy on any kind of prediction,” he added.

“At the moment it’s quite difficult to predict because you have binary problems – things either don’t work or they’re not going to work. But what I’m confident about is we’re not seeing anything that’s not usual, just things that have to be dealt with in a very short space of time. And also once these problems are solved we wouldn’t expect to see them again.”

Lowden gave credit to his rival teams and F1’s organisers for helping Manor get their entry together in time for the first race of the season.

“I think for those who have seen the task that the team has addressed it’s been an incredible job by an awful lot of people,” he said. “It’s not just people within the team, we’ve had a huge amount of cooperation from all the other teams here, from the FIA, from Jean Todt, from FOM, from Bernie [Ecclestone].”

“It’s not a small task to do what’s been done and an awful lot of people have helped to get it to where it is. The cars and the systems are incredibly complicated and what’s been achieved in an incredibly short space of time – the company only came out of administration two weeks ago – has really been tremendous. And we’re racers and we want to race, that’s what we want to do, so there’s nothing that we’re doing that’s possibly slowed the process down. We want to be on the track as quick as we possibly can and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Manor unsure when they will be able to run”

  1. They should have figured this out before they got to Australia…

    It would be good to see them at least make an attempt in qualifying

    1. They’ve attempted to do in 2 weeks what other teams spent months doing and probably with 1/5 of the budget. I still think they deserve a pat on the back for getting this far.

      1. But I thought they were using last year’s car with last year’s engine, so what’s new? From what I understand the only thing they’ve done adapting last year’s chassis to this year’s rulebook, i.e. redesign the nose but that shouldn’t be a problem should it? It seems there’s something I’m not aware of.

        1. @oel-f1 Because the team was in administration and was, at one point, due to be liquidated, they destroyed all of their data so that the computer systems could be sold off. Without that data they’re starting from scratch, which is no easy task.

          1. @mazdachris,

            That is quite extreme – I would have though that the data (IP) is in itself a salable item.

          2. @synapseza It’s an absolute minefield. The data itself won’t be wholly owned by Manor in the first place. Some of it will have been developed in collaboration with other suppliers (engine supplier, wind-tunnel operators etc etc) so the data is effectively used under license to Manor, but isn’t theirs to sell.

            Secure destruction of data is a standard part of the wrapping up of any company.

          3. @mazdachris,

            That makes sense – thanks. And they also lost a lot of staff to other teams – and with that expertise of what has been done on the 2014 car. Tough times.

    2. They should have figured this out before they got to Australia…

      That’s a bit harsh. They have had to do a hell of a lot of work in a few weeks. As they said, this is like their first day of testing. There will be issues, and they are doing their best to get them sorted in time.

  2. I am all for supporting the minnows, but this is the pinnacle of motorsport (or so they say) – and this is not great. Are they only after the price money or is there some other reason they are still around? GP2 is probably a more suitable fit for such a small private racing team.

    We desperately need more manufacturers in F1 since a manufacturer-backed team has a lot more reasons to be in F1 as well as the ability to support their efforts. There are exceptions: Red Bull and FI used their team(s) as marketing tools and Mclaren expanded into various other industries using F1 technologies as they severed their Mercedes ties.

    Sauber and Williams are more traditional racing teams and their struggles has been well documented and I am amazed how well Williams did to recover from their post-BMW slump.

    Imagine a grid represented by Renault, Audi/Volkswagen/Porche, BMW, Ford and Toyota in addition to Mercedes and Ferrari. One can only dream :)

    1. GP2 is probably a more suitable fit for such a small private racing team.

      I completely disagree.

      GP2 is entirely different. It is a spec series. The teams are not manufacturers.

      I really believe we need a feeder series for manufacturers in F1. As things stand, they have to jump in to F1 and do or die.

      1. Sorry, constructors, not manufacturers.

      2. @drmouse

        I really believe we need a feeder series for manufacturers in F1

        I think that is both near impossible and a bad idea.
        It’s near impossible because the top-end feeder series are expensive enough as it is. One year in GP2 costs about 2-3M and that is considered to be expensive already. The GP2 chassis has been developed in 2008 for the 2009 season onwards, which means development costs have been split between all teams for 7 years now – and still they can’t make GP2 cheaper.

        Now open up development and make teams create their own cars (or install a new feeder series with constructors designing their own cars) and you are bound to bump that 2-3M budget to a multiple of that. It just isn’t feasible for most teams and drivers.

        And I think it’s a bad idea anyway, because that would go against the nature of feeder series: to distinguish good drivers from bad. The cars NEED to be equal in feeder series in order to know who is doing well and who isn’t. Even now it sometimes is hard because being in a team like DAMS (GP2 or FR3.5) gives you a competitive advantage, what with it being such a well-oiled and experienced team. Now imagine all the cars being different.

        1. @mattds

          But what about the engineers and the designers and the people who manufacture the bespoke parts in F1 teams? They also need to be able to grow and develop. I totally agree with @drmouse – while there are plenty of series’ in which a driver can learn his or her craft, the rest of the team has a stark choise – either compete in a feeder series using an off-the-shelf car, or enter into F1 and hope that they have what it takes to compete. And then they get a lot of flak when they’re not up to the task.

          Surely it makes absolute sense to have a number of tiered championships where teams can compete with machinery they’ve designed and built themselves. Then they can form the basis for feeder series’ for teams themselves – if a team regularly builds great cars and wins championships, then they can take the step up to F1. Or vice versa; rather than a team like Manor (or Caterham or HRT or Force india or Sauber etc etc etc) simply close up shop if thye can’t compete in F1, they could compete in a lower series but retaining the ability to design and develop their own cars.

          It doesn’t even have to be necessarily expensive, especially if you mandate a certain number of spec parts like the engine and gearbox, and even the chassis. You could start out with an off-the-shelf chassis, engine, gearbox, suspension, steering and braking package, and then develop the rest around it. So teams would create their own aero, their own engine anciliaries, and so on, and perhaps even have some freedom to change or modify those spec components. And you could limit the scope of the development by mandating things like standard CFD systems and banning the use of wind-tunnels. It needn’t be expensive. Look at the likes of Formula Student, where each team buils its own car from the ground up, yet they manage it on budgets that’d barely see you through a year of Formula Renault.

          I think it’s incredibly short-sighted that there are no intermediate level championships where teams can hone their craft before making the move into F1.

          1. @mazdachris

            Exactly my point.

            F1 is a team sport. There are plenty of places a driver can learn their craft and show their talent, but none (or very little) for the engineers and constructors.

            @mattds I did correct myself over manufacturer, I obviously meant constructor.

          2. Sorry, @mattds, that final comment was meant for @synapseza bellow.

          3. The thing is, there are already existing series which technically allow manufacturers to do what you describe.

            For example, technically all Formula 3 series are open series, as anybody has the right to produce and race a car which complies with the FIA’s regulations, much as in F1.

            It happens to be the case that, in recent years, Dallara has effectively been able to out compete their rivals and effectively gain a lockout on junior series, but there have been attempts in the past from other parties – Mygale, for example, has established a small presence in the Australian Formula 3 series, although competition from Dallara has effectively driven them out of the larger European based series.

            The problem is, there isn’t really much of a commercial incentive for major manufacturers to enter into small series like Formula 3, so it’s really been left to a small pool of independent manufacturers to effectively fill the gap and to become of the major sources of employment at that level.

            However, the number of independents has been squeezed thanks to the fact that there are only a handful of major series, and most of them can only really support one chassis manufacturer – so unless you can sort the problem of financial viability, you won’t get the sort of diversity in junior series that you’re seeking.

      3. GP2 is entirely different. It is a spec series. The teams are not manufacturers

        Manor is not a manufacturer though and they are not doing a great job of being a constructor either.

    2. GP2 is no longer an appropriate series for any team with ambitions of going to or returning to F1. If Manor wanted to not be in F1 again, it would have been an easy thing to do. The sheer effort they’ve gone to shows that F1 is the most appropriate series for them; they just ran out of time. Hopefully they will run in qualifying (or earlier) and prove the naysayers wrong.

      1. +1 Fingers crossed for Manor!

    3. @synapseza
      Are they only after the price money or is there some other reason they are still around?

      Yes. They have guaranteed 10th spot this year which guarantees they get money from bernie. If they can use 2014 spec car also in 2016 they can still keep trundling along that year and get the 2015 prize money for their 10th place. The 107% is so lenient that as long as they can just do one fast hotlap in q1 they will get through unless one of the top teams does a decent lap. If merc puts the hammer down in q1 marussia will be out.

      Also at this point the only thing of value they have left is their entry into f1. If they stopped racing they’d lose that entry. The reason they did not quit was because they could not sell that entry to anyone. That entry is worth something like 30-50million dollars. I could not find exact number for that but it is a lot.

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