American businessman Tavo Hellmund interested in buying Manor
Hellmund wants Nascar's Dale Earnhardt Jr to lead the team
By William Esler
Last Updated: 11/11/15 6:07pm
Tavo Hellmund, the American businessman who helped bring the Mexican GP back to the F1 calendar and the US GP to Texas, is interested in buying Manor.
The minnows fought their way out of administration to return to the grid this season thanks to investment from energy tycoon Stephen Fitzpatrick. However, they have struggled at the back with what is essentially their 2014 chassis and a year-old Ferrari engine.
A current-spec Mercedes deal for 2016 makes the team a more attractive prospect, but the team's future appears far from certain after team principal John Booth and sporting director Graeme Lowdon reportedly handed in their resignations last month.
"I think if we get to late January or February, it may be too late, and my partners and I would probably lose interest," Hellmund told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.
The American says he would like 41-year-old Nascar star Dale Earnhardt Jr to lead the team if he was to purchase the outfit.
That appears unlikely to happen, but Hellmund did suggest he would look to keep current Manor driver Alexander Rossi in one of the seats. "He has the resume," he said of his fellow countryman.
Hellmund has no ambitions of taking on the might of Mercedes at the front of the grid should he take control of Manor, instead setting his sights on the mid-table.
"We're never going to spend $400 million a year like Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren," he said.
"But we think you can run it respectably and not be in the red. I think you can fight for fifth."
Hellmund indicated that Manor's plan to switch to Mercedes power units for 2016 would have to remain in place and the team would have to pass financial scrutiny for his group's interest to be maintained.
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