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Fry: Manor F1 growing in a ‘sensible, controlled way’

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Manor Racing engineering consultant Pat Fry believes that the Formula 1 team is growing in a “sensible, controlled way” as it continues to move up the grid.

After narrowly avoiding liquidation at the end of 2014, Manor has gone from strength-to-strength under new owner Stephen Fitzpatrick, securing a power unit supply from Mercedes and scoring just the second top-10 finish in its history in Austria last month.

Ex-Ferrari and McLaren man Fry joined Manor as part of its drive to strengthen its management, which included the arrival of former McLaren team manager Dave Ryan and Renault chief operating officer Thomas Mayer.

Speaking over the German Grand Prix weekend, Fry explained how Manor is taking small yet significant steps in its bid to move up the grid.

“It’s quite a large charge from surviving through to competing and that affects the whole organization, all the way from what we are doing at the factory, from the wind tunnel to the design office, all the reliability side of things, all the way through to the track really,” Fry explained.

“It has knock-on necessities where we need to improve absolutely everywhere through the organization.

“There’s a plan for us to grow in a sensible, controlled way but we need to address all those areas, everything from pit stop speed, which we were – to put it a polite way – it was challenging at the beginning of the year, with the same guys and modifying everything. It’s all the detail work that you need to do and it just takes time.

“The same thing with putting the processes in place so that you can keep a reliable car reliable. There’s a huge task but everyone’s interested.

“We’re still quite small at the moment. We’re growing quite quickly but we’re still only 170 people or something of that order and our next competitor is the thick end of 500 people.

“There’s a lot to do and we just have to have a sensible plan to grow the organisation to compete sensibly.”

Manor currently sits 10th in the F1 constructors’ championship ahead of Sauber, its point in Austria coming courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein.

Wehrlein could be set to receive a new teammate for the remainder of the season as Rio Haryanto’s management continues to seek further funding to keep him in a seat.

Should Haryanto be unable to continue with Manor from the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes youngster Esteban Ocon is expected to take the seat for the remainder of the season.

Indianapolis 500 winner and Manor reserve driver Alexander Rossi revealed in an interview with Autosport that he was offered the seat for the rest of the year, but turned it down so he could focus on his IndyCar commitments with Andretti/Bryan Herta Autosport.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.