Manor Grand Prix
Successful in the junior categories since 1990, Manor Motorsport was one of the three successful tenders for a place on the 2010 Formula 1 grid. At first known as Virgin Racing due to a tie-up with Richard Branson’s company, the original cars were designed by former Simtek owner Nick Wirth using CFD technology and without the aid of a wind tunnel. That proved an error so Manor and Wirth parted ways during 2011.
By that time Russian supercar manufacturer Marussia had acquired a stake in the team and the cars were officially renamed from 2012. It was a period of struggle for all of F1’s minnows however – both on the track and to balance the books for the promised £30m budget cap never materialised.
Tenth in the 2013 F1 World Championship thanks to a crucial 13th-place in Malaysia, Jules Bianchi finally scored the team’s first point by finishing ninth in the 2014 Monaco GP. Tragically, Bianchi suffered serious head injuries when he crashed into a crane during that year’s wet Japanese GP. That added to the sadness of test driver Maria de Villota’s death in October 2013, 15 months after a freak accident during a straightline test at Duxford Aerodrome.
Marussia withdrew its backing in 2014 and the team entered administration before the end of the season. Seemingly out of business, founder John Booth (a former butcher who raced successfully in Formula Ford) and CEO Graeme Lowden managed to resurrect its fortunes and make it to the grid in 2015 with old cars now entered as Manor for the first time. They sold the team to a consortium headed by Stephen Fitzpatrick and eventually left to compete in the World Endurance Championship. Pascal Wehrlein finished 10th in Austria to score Manor’s only point of 2016 but it was beaten to 10th in the constructors’ championship by Sauber. That proved crucial for Manor ceased trading by the end of January 2017.