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.