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.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.