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Tavo Hellmund wanted partnership with Honda or Mercedes for Manor F1

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American-Mexican businessman Tavo Hellmund says that held talks with both Honda and Mercedes regarding a partnership with Manor Racing before his bid to buy the Formula 1 team collapsed, resulting in its closure.

Manor entered administration last month amid ongoing financial difficulties, with team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick unable to secure enough backing to keep the operation going through 2017.

Fitzpatrick said in November that terms had been agreed with an investor – Hellmund – only for the deal to collapse following its demotion to last place in the constructors’ championship.

Hellmund played an instrumental role in getting both the United States Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix on the F1 calendar in recent years, the latter being one of the sport’s best-attended events in 2015 and 2016, but was looking to turn his hand to team ownership.

Speaking to the Austin-American Statesman, Hellmund revealed that he had held talks with both Honda and Mercedes that would have seen Manor link up in a similar way Haas has done with Ferrari.

“We were looking to form a partnership with one of the big manufacturers, Mercedes or Honda,” Hellmund said.

“We had conversations with both. That way you can get motors — discounted motors — and get a driver. It’s almost like being a Triple-A [baseball] team.”

Hellmund also revealed that it was his investment group’s second attempt to buy the team, having previously made an offer back in 2015.

“The first go-round, we were even going to involve Anthony Hamilton, Lewis’ dad,” he said.

“We made two stabs at it. We offered £22 million a year and a half ago.”

Following Manor’s closure, the F1 grid for 2017 is down to just 10 teams, but perhaps more pressingly over 200 people were left without a job.

“It’s a shame those people are now out of work,” Hellmund said.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.