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Analysis: Manor strengthen with another ex Ferrari and McLaren engineer

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Analysis: Manor strengthen with another ex Ferrari and McLaren engineer
Jan 25, 2016, 11:41 AM

The rebirth of Manor Racing F1 team under Irish entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick took another step today with the announcement that Pat Fry is to j...

The rebirth of Manor Racing F1 team under Irish entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick took another step today with the announcement that Pat Fry is to join the team, albeit at this stage just in the capacity of engineering consultant.

Fry, 51, like designer Nicholas Tombazis, who joined Manor recently, is a refugee from a cull at Ferrari during the turbulence of 2013-14. He was brought into Ferrari following Fernando Alonso's arrival at the team in 2010, the pair having worked closely together in 2007 at McLaren. Fry has had a long career with positive stints at McLaren, where he successfully headed one of the two project teams responsible for designing the cars, including the 2007 car, and also before that at Benetton.

Pat Fry

Fry worked closely with Manor Racing Director Dave Ryan at McLaren for many years; the pair were in charge of David Coulthard's race effort, for example, during four years of his career with the team. Fry has both design and operational experience, which is very valuable when putting the new Mercedes-engined 2016 chassis on the ground with only 8 days of testing and getting it dialled in quickly. This season represents a good opportunity for the team to step up into the pack, rather than chasing around alone at the back.

The presence of these 'names' at Manor Racing will serve to calm Mercedes fears after John Booth and Graeme Lowden left the team at the end of last season. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expressed some concern, particularly at Booth's departure. The roster of solid names at Manor will help, but ultimately Mercedes will be taking care to ensure that there are sufficient funds so the €20m annual engine bills are paid.

Manor has yet to announce drivers but one would expect one to be a driver with a substantial sponsorship backing, like Ryo Haryanto, for example, and the other to be a quick driver, capable of scoring some points. Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein's name has still not gone out of the equation.

What is interesting about this wave of hirings of seasoned, one might almost say 'veteran' engineers and team managers is that it shows that experience and leadership are highly prized in the current market. F1 is a young man's game in some senses, but there are plenty of grey hairs on the pit wall still.

Pat Fry

It's tempting to look at Pat Symonds as the role model for this; the 62 year old is enjoying a rich autumn to his career as technical boss at Williams, having been out of the sport for a couple of years for his part in the Renault Singapore 2008 "Crashgate" scandal and then having built his way back up to the top with a stint at Marussia, the forerunner to Manor.

It shows that even the lowest ranked teams provide a pathway for the senior people like Ryan, Tombazis and Fry. Bob Bell had a stint at Manor last year in a consultant role before moving to the reformed technical team at Renault F1.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Pat on board to help us hit the ground running with our exciting new technical package," said Dave Ryan. "The aim is to bring performance to the car with effect from the Barcelona tests, then translate that to the race track in Melbourne, to ensure we make the strongest possible start to 2016 and have a good basis for development in the early part of the season.”

What do you think of the way Manor is rebuilding the team? Do you expect them to make a significant improvement in 2016 - how many points will they score? Take part in our Poll and leave your comments below

How many points will Manor Racing score in 2016?

Pat Fry
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