Manor F1 ready for takeover after terms agreed with investor

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) The struggling Manor Formula One team is on the verge of a takeover after its owner said Friday that terms have been agreed with a new investor.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, British businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick said that the team has been in discussions with several investors over the past six months and one is now in pole position.

“We have agreed terms with an investor at the moment and we are still working through that,” said Fitzpatrick, who rescued the team from administration in time for the 2015 season. “I can’t really talk more about the specifics.”

Fitzpatrick is now prepared to take a back seat as long as it makes the team stronger.

“One of the things I was quite clear on, right from the start, was that in the current F1, money equals performance,” he said. “So anything that was going to bring more funding to the team and help the team develop I was very open to … (even) if that meant bringing in another investor, and even a majority investor.”

Manor has scored one point this season, putting it in 11th and last place in the constructors’ standings heading into Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.

Manor is still aiming for 10th place and is one point behind Sauber, which currently holds that position.

The difference between 10th and 11th is several millions in terms of television rights and revenue distribution.

Losing out on 10th spot would not affect the impending takeover, however.

“It doesn’t help financially, but the terms of our agreement have been re-finalized, let’s say,” Fitzpatrick explained. “(It’s) not a deal breaker.”

Highly-rated German driver Pascal Wehrlein scored the team’s only point this year after finishing 10th at the Austrian GP in July.

Esteban Ocon is Manor’s other driver, but the 20-year-old Frenchman is joining Force India next season.

Werhlein, meanwhile, is tipped to replace Brazilian Felipe Nasr at Sauber, a move made potentially more likely with the news that Nasr has lost his banking sponsor Banco do Brasil.

“That’s correct. The bank informed us as well,” Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said at the same news conference as Fitzpatrick. “They have interrupted their 2017 sponsorship program. Our seat is still open, we are including that in our assessment.”

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”