Their start to the year, was frantic, simply to make it to the first Grand Prix in Australia, but Manor F1 must feel like they are here to stay, co...
Their start to the year, was frantic, simply to make it to the first Grand Prix in Australia, but Manor F1 must feel like they are here to stay, considering yesterday's news that they've added some names to the engineering department.
The spur for the revival of a team which had gone into administration at the end of last season, was the prize money owed to them for 2015/16/17 of US47m a year. They were entitled to this thanks to their ninth place finish in Monaco last year with Jules Bianchi.
At the team's small scale media launch in London, it was suggested that the FOM prize money represented half the operating budget for the season. They will continue to receive it as long as they keep racing, even if Haas beat them to 10th place in 2016/17, as the American outfit will not be eligible for prize money for the first two seasons.
While Manor F1 failed to reach the points scoring highs of 12 months ago at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, the F1 minnows have nonetheless taken part in the races from Malaysia onwards, although not everyone in the F1 paddock is delighted by their story. Bernie Ecclestone and some rival team bosses were angered by their no-show on track in Melbourne and some creditors and suppliers in the paddock who received only a fraction of the money owed to them in the administration period.
So what are we to make of the signing of the well travelled and highly respected Bob Bell as a technical consultant ? His name has been linked to Renault, should they commit to a return as an F1 team owner. Discussions between Renault's CEO Carlos Ghosn and Ecclestone took place in Monaco and Ghosn is believed to have told the Renault F1 staff that a race team can only be contemplated once they have sorted out the problems with the power unit.
Formerly one of Mercedes' army of Technical Directors and prior to that Renault team principal, Bell has seen F1 from all angles over the years and knows how successful F1 teams, both large and small, are put together. He was part of the group that made Jordan GP successful. His assistance in formulating a long term strategy will be invaluable and indicates that Booth and co have moved beyond the firefighting phase.
His signature adds credibility to the team within the industry and suggests a squad with solid ambition rather than just treading water waiting for an investor as other teams have been wont to do over the years.
While Bell is the marquee signing, of perhaps more significance in the preparation of Manor's next F1 challenger is the arrival of Luca Furbatto as Head of Design.
Furbatto, the former Chief Designer with Scuderia Toro Rosso also had a ten-year stint with McLaren Racing man and will report to Technical Director John McQuilliam.
Meanwhile helping to run the cars provided by McQuilliam and Furbatto will be Gianluca Pisanello who arrives at Manor in the role of Chief Engineer.
Most recently, Pisanello held the role of Head of Engineering Operations with Caterham F1 Team. Before that, he worked in various engineering positions with Caterham and Toyota Motorsport GmbH.
According to the team Pisanello "will lead a young and highly ambitious group of race, performance and strategy engineers supporting Manor’s race drivers."
Pisanello will be well known to another former Caterham man, Tim Milne, who heads up the Aero department at Manor.
“We’re delighted to welcome Bob, Luca, and Gianluca to the team," said Booth. "It’s been a dramatic but rewarding start to our 2015 season, and we’re only now able to settle into more of a rhythm, allowing us to look to the future.
"Our focus this season is to re-build the foundations of the team and develop our internal capabilities. As ever in Formula One, we rely on the experience, tenacity and drive of our colleagues, so we’re delighted to welcome our new teammates. Each of them brings a huge amount of experience from within the sport, adding further dimensions to our existing technical and engineering capability.
"Whilst we seek to optimise our performance during the remainder of the 2015 season, we can also turn our attention to the next exciting chapter in our story - 2016 and beyond.”
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Manor Steadying the Ship With New Appointments
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