Force India To Mind Their Manors…?

Date published: February 15 2015

They thought it was all over… but this week Manor Motorsport continued talks with the FIA about getting on the grid for 2015…

On the whole, F1 personnel aren’t big theatre-goers. You could maybe imagine Christian Horner being dragged along to see the musical Viva Forever – The Spice Girls Story . (If it were still going, other than it’s Pyongyang run)But serious board-treading stuff? Unlikely.

But if they did, they might appreciate the relevance of a scene in George-Bernard Shawe’s play Misalliance . The action takes place after an aviator crashes his biplane into the conservatory of a country house. One moment the aviator is being threatened with legal action and ruin, then minutes later he holds the balance of power, and the person that threatened him is hanging on the pilot’s mercy.

It’s a brilliant piece of writing and one of the most neat and perfect reversals of fortune you’re likely to see in a play.

Just over a week ago it was Force India’s Bob Fernley who vetoed Manor Motorsport’s (formerly Marussia) bid to compete in the 2015 World Championship with a 2014 car. Bob claimed he wanted to see more detail of the entry, not just a proposal on a single sheet of paper. Apart from the sketchiness of the plan, Manor’s failure to turn up would mean that their prize money from 2014 would get given to the other teams, including Force India.

That move seemed to have blocked off Manor’s return. However news emerged this week that they were still talking to the FIA about hastily getting together a car to 2015 regulations. Sources have suggested that if they can get an interim car running by the Bahrain GP on April 19th they will qualify to receive the money they were due for finishing 9th in the Constructors’ Championship last year – above Caterham and Sauber.

The FIA want to make sure that this is a serious bid and have the infrastructure in place, but many of the team’s creditors will want to see them keep going, because it’s their best chance of recouping some of the money they invested.

Now just suppose that miracle does happen, and Manor return to the grid in 2015. They would then be on an even footing with Force India.

Lest it be forgotten, Force India are shockingly late with their 2015 car. At first they said they were skipping the Jerez test because it wasn’t worth going. Now they have said that the car won’t be ready for the Barcelona test this week. The first time that the car will run is at the final Barcelona test on Feb 26th when the VJM08 is scheduled to take to the track.*

With all that lateness there is the possibility of technical problems in future GPs. And sometimes, when there are technical problems, teams have to ask for the unanimous support of the other teams to give them an exemption for one thing or another.

As the great Murray Walker has said, “Anything can happen in F1 – and it usually does.” It would be poetic justice if Force India had to go cap in hand to all the teams on the grid, including Manor, to allow them to run one weekend. It’s unlikely, but unlikely things happen in F1.

Who’d have thought that Bernie could buy F1’s commercial rights for 110 years for $360m…

FH

*although in the Paul Stoddart Minardi era, there were no worries mate if the car only ran for the first time in Melbourne first practice.