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Manor F1 to close after attempt to find buyer fails

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The Manor Formula 1 operation is set to close after administrators confirmed that efforts to find a buyer for the cash-strapped team had failed.

Manor entered administration at the beginning of January amid ongoing financial struggles, with FRP Advisory being appointed to try and find a new buyer.

Despite talks with a number of interested parties, FRP issued a statement on Friday confirming that Manor would close its doors and its staff would be made redundant after negotiations fell short.

“During recent months, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably were been unable to do so within the time available and were left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration  to protect the best interests of the underlying businesses and in order to continue a search for a buyer,” a statement from FRP reads.

“Since their appointment earlier this month the joint administrators at FRP Advisory have continued to work, with the support of senior management, to try and secure new investment into the business resulting in negotiations with a number of interested parties. During that period  funding was secured to ensure payment of all staff salaries until 31 January 2017.

“Regrettably since the appointment of administrators no investment has been secured in the limited time available to continue the Group in its present form.With no sustainable operational or financial structure in place to maintain the Group as a going concern, the joint administrators have now ceased trading JRSL and unfortunately have had to send all staff home from work today Friday 27 January.

“While all 212 staff will be paid on Tuesday 31 January, all but a small handful of staff are expected be made redundant by the end of January.  Note that Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd, the sister company of JRSL, which has the rights for the team’s participation in F1, is not in administration.”

“It is deeply regrettable that the team has had  cease trading and close its doors,” FRP’s Geoff Rowley added. “Manor is a great name in British Motorsport and the team has achieved a great deal over the past two years, invigorated under new ownership.

“Operating and running a F1 team to the high standards demanded however requires significant ongoing investment. Just Racing Services Limited was put into administration at the start of January shortly after attempts to sell the business fell through at the last hurdle.

“The administration process provided a moratorium to allow for attempts to secure a long term viable solution for the team within in a very limited time-frame but sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form within what was a very tight time-frame.

“We would like to thank all the staff for their support and professionalism during this difficult process. We shall initiate a formal redundancy process for all staff on Tuesday, once they have been paid for the full month of January.

“As joint administrators our immediate focus will be to assist staff who will have lost their jobs and to provide them with the necessary support to submit timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.”

More to follow.

INDYCAR announces several rules and protocol changes for 2018 season

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The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series opener is still more than six weeks away (March 11, St. Petersburg, Florida).

But several rules and protocol changes that will impact much of the 17-race season were announced today by INDYCAR officials.

First is related to Indianapolis 500 qualifying on May 19-20, one week prior to the 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing:

* Driver and entrant points will be awarded to the top nine qualifiers for the race. The pole winner earns nine points and the second-fastest qualifier eight points, with awarded points decreasing by one point for each position down to one point earned by the ninth-fastest qualifier.

* Race points for the Indianapolis 500 and the 2018 season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16, will still pay double the normal points for driver and entrant.

There are several other changes on tap for the season, as well.

Here’s a quick rundown of those changes (information courtesy of INDYCAR):

  • The qualifying order for all oval track events except the Indianapolis 500 will be determined by entrant points entering the event. The qualifying order will run in reverse order of entrant points, with the highest in entrant points qualifying last. A car without entrant points will be placed at the front of the qualifying line. If more than one car has no entrant points entering an event, a blind draw among those cars will determine their qualifying order at the front of the line. The qualifying order for the Indianapolis 500 will still be determined by a blind draw.
  • Times have been set for the series-wide open test at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix Raceway), scheduled for Feb. 9-10. The track will be open to all cars from 3-6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. ET both days. INDYCAR has also added four hours of track time on Feb. 8 (3-7 p.m. ET) for rookie drivers to complete their oval test assessments.
  • The series-wide open test at Portland International Raceway will be held Aug. 30, a day prior to the beginning of the Grand Prix of Portland race weekend. Indy car racing returns to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 11 years in 2018.
  • A schedule change for the month of May will see the INDYCAR garages closed on May 13 – the day after the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – to allow teams time off for Mother’s Day. The track will not be open to the public on this day. The garages will be open on May 14, but there will be no on-track activity.
  • Practice for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 begins Tuesday, May 15 on the IMS oval, with the first two hours open for rookie orientation and veteran refreshers, then to all cars. Practice continues May 16-18, ahead of qualifications weekend May 19-20.
  • INDYCAR is granting teams that did not participate in fall manufacturer testing with the universal aero kit an additional half day of private testing. The testing is limited to one car per team and must take place in conjunction with the team’s first on-track test of 2018. Each team is permitted five hours of track time and two sets of Firestone tires.
  • Working with Firestone, INDYCAR has increased the tire allotment at five events. The race weekends at ISM Raceway (Phoenix), the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Texas Motor Speedway, the streets of Toronto and Iowa Speedway will see teams receive an additional set of tires. In a related change, drivers outside the top 10 in the point standings will no longer have an extra set of tires available to them for the opening practice session of a race weekend.
  • The minimum car weight for 2018 has been increased by 10 pounds – to 1,620 pounds for road and street courses and short ovals, 1,590 pounds for superspeedways (both do not include fuel, drink bottle and its contents, driver and driver equivalency weight) – to accommodate for new parts and additional on-car cameras related to the universal aero kit all competitors will run in 2018.