Hellmund favourite to take over Manor F1 team

Tavo Hellmund, the man who helped resurrect the United States and Mexican Grands Prix, has emerged as the favourite to complete a takeover of the Manor Formula 1 team.

Hellmund favourite to take over Manor F1 team
Esteban Ocon, Manor Racing MRT05
(L to R): Tavo Hellmund, Former COTA Promotor with Chase Carey, Formula One Group Chairman
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05, Esteban Ocon, Manor Racing MRT05
Esteban Ocon, Manor Racing MRT05
Esteban Ocon, Manor Racing MRT05
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing
Tavo Hellmund, Former COTA Promotor

The Mexican-American, who helped lead the Austin project and worked with Mexicans on their race, is understood to have teamed up with Texan investors for a planned purchase of the Manor outfit.

He has been talking to the team for more than one year now to get the deal across the line.

Manor's current owner Stephen Fitzpatrick admitted at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he had agreed terms with an unidentified party for a sale of his outfit – which could go ahead in the next few weeks.

"I can't talk too much about the specifics but we have been in discussions with several investors, well, for the last six months let's say," said Fitzpatrick.

"One of the things I was quite clear on, right from the start, was that I accepted that in the current F1, money equals performance.

"So anything that was going to bring more funding to the team and help the team develop and progress I was very open [to] - and if that meant bringing another investor, even a majority investor, that was something I was happy to do.

"We have agreed terms with an investor at the moment and we are still working through that and I can't really talk more about the specifics."

Hellmund is a long-time friend of Bernie Ecclestone, so is likely to have the F1 supremo's blessing for the deal.

And although Manor lost 10th place in the constructors' championship to Sauber, thanks to Felipe Nasr's points finish in Brazil, it is not thought that has had any impact on Hellmund's plans for Manor.

The Banbury-based team has enjoyed a more competitive season under the ownership of Fitzpatrick this year, with race director Dave Ryan having played a key role in getting the outfit in to shape following its return from near-bankruptcy at the end of 2014.

The team has further been helped by the input from a host of top talent, including technical director John McQuilliam, chief designer Luca Furbatto, chief aerodynamicist Nikolas Tombazis and head of track engineering Pat Fry.

Its competitiveness has been helped by a Mercedes engine deal, and a partnership with the German car manufacturer to use its Brackley wind tunnel.

If Hellmund's deal is completed, then Fitzpatrick is expected to stay on board in some role.

Manor has not yet confirmed either of its drivers for 2016, with Esteban Ocon having moved to Force India and Pascal Wehrlein the favourite to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

 

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