<
>

What we learned this week in Formula One

play
Time running out for Manor? (1:02)

Jonathan Legard discusses the importance of a new ownership structure at Manor after the ownership team behind the F1 side went into administration. (1:02)

The first week of January has seen several significant stories develop in the Formula One world, including one team entering administration and one of the F1 calendar's most beloved circuits fall into long-term doubt. Here are a round up of the main stories from the week...

Manor in trouble

The year has started in sad fashion for employees of Manor Racing. When they arrived at work on Friday they were told the team has been unable to find an investor. It now has limited time to find a solution before the season opener in Australia on March 26.

Though the breakdown in talks was significant, it is now clear how damaging it was for Manor to lose tenth place to Sauber at the Brazilian Grand Prix last November. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining whether we see Manor on the Melbourne grid.

Fresh doubts for Silverstone

The long-term future of Silverstone has always been a point of interest for UK media but it seems the circuit is nearing a decision on its long-term future beyond 2019, when it's contract expires. British Racing Drivers' Club chairman John Grant warned of the "potentially ruinous" costs of hosting the event beyond there.

Silverstone's financial struggles come despite a crowd of nearly 140,000 watching Lewis Hamilton claim a third consecutive British Grand Prix win last year. Alternative venues will undoubtedly be considered, though it is unlikely any could meet the necessary requirements to host a modern-day F1 race. The UK government could well step in and save the circuit, something 1996 word champion and former BRDC president Damon Hill urged them to do.

Launch dates... but no Mercedes announcement

We've had three more 2017 car launch dates but still don't know who will be driving the most coveted of them all. Mercedes will launch its new challenger on February 23 but we are yet to know who will replace the retiring Nico Rosberg. Mercedes has yet to confirm when it will announce Lewis Hamilton's teammate, but it is likely waiting for other pieces to come together elsewhere on the grid before it does...

Valtteri Bottas -- who visited the Mercedes factory before Christmas -- remains the odds-on favourite for the seat but presumably cannot be unveiled until Sauber has dotted the i's and crossed the t's with Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein, while we know Felipe Massa has agreed to return to Williams and fill the void left by Bottas' departure.

Other headlines of note...

Ross Brawn predicted F1 will have to choose between its current route of development -- which leads towards electric power -- or a move back to noisy, high-revving combustion engines when the next regulations are drawn up in 2020. Brawn's apprehension about the current formula is shared by Red Bull's Adrian Newey, who told Sky Sports he believes the idea the V6 turbos will benefit road cars is simply "marketing blurb".

Bernie Ecclestone expressed his hope for a return of the Schumacher name in future, referring to Michael's son Mick, who will compete in Formula 3 this season. Gene Haas admitted his team is still struggling to attract big time sponsors despite surpassing all expectations in its debut year, while Rio Haryanto lost his Indonesian state backers, making it increasingly unlikely we will see him on an F1 grid again in future.