Manor Marussia working towards Australian GP return as investor details emerge
Team included on updated F1 entry list; Ovo Energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick understood to be behind revival; McLaren to continue providing team with "affordable support"; Manor aiming to air freight car to Melbourne on March 6
By James Galloway and William Esler in Barcelona
Last Updated: 16/03/15 2:24pm
Manor have been included on an updated F1 entry list published by the FIA as the team’s 11th-hour bid to return to the grid for the Australian GP gathers pace.
A week after a deal was struck with creditors for the team now known as Manor Marussia to come out of administration, the team announced on Wednesday that they had hired Will Stevens to fill one of their 2015 race seats and were making “huge strides” towards being ready with their car for Melbourne.
Although Manor have yet to comment on the financial muscle behind their intended return, sources have indicated that the main investor behind the team is businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick, the chief executive of Ovo Energy.
It is understood Fitzpatrick, a life-long F1 fan who has been talking to the team since they entered administration last October, is financing the deal through personal investment and that Ovo is not involved.
Justin King, the former CEO of Sainsbury’s, is rumoured to be part of the new management structure.
With the team expected to run a modified car to comply with the 2015 technical regulations, the FIA has added two conditions to Manor's entry - namely that the team are in ‘full compliance with the 2015 Technical Regulations required’ and that Stevens obtains a valid super licence.
The entry's company name is still listed as Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, but the team name has been revised to include the Marussia title. They will be known as Manor Marussia F1 team as the chassis will still carry the Marussia title, despite the sponsorship deal ending, which is likely to ensure they remain entitled to their prize money from 2014.
On Friday the team's administrators, FRP Advisory, submitted to court the papers to complete the team’s exit from administration.
Although Ferrari and McLaren were listed as two of Marussia’s biggest creditors at the time of them entering administration, both teams have said they will continue to provide the minnow with technical assistance.
Having been their engine suppliers last season, Ferrari chief Maurizio Arrivabene confirmed at the first Barcelona test that the Scuderia had agreed for Manor to run their 2014 engine in the new season, although the deal had yet to be formally signed at the time.
McLaren, meanwhile, have confirmed that they will continue to provide Manor with “affordable” support.
“We have agreed to restructure our contract with the Manor team so that it may continue to benefit from affordable support, in keeping with contractual obligations," a McLaren spokesman said.
"So we are assisting the team’s efforts to try to continue competing in Formula 1, but we have no plans to acquire any equity in the team or to increase our involvement with it in any way.”
Red Bull and Williams have also put on record their desire to see Manor return to the grid.
Manor are aiming to make the air freight deadline of March 6 to get their car to Australia.
Caterham are not included on the updated entry list and the team's assets have started to be sold off via an online auction.