Manor F1 operator goes into administration

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The company that operates the Manor Formula One team has gone into administration, throwing the team's future into doubt ahead of the 2017 season.

Following mounting speculation on Friday morning about the outfit's place on the F1 grid, members of staff were called to Manor's Banbury headquarters to be told the team had been unable to conclude a deal to secure Manor's long-term future.

FRP Advisory LLP has been appointed as joint administrators of the Just Racing Services Limited company that operates the British squad, who finished 11th and last in the constructors' championship standings in 2016.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley admitted Manor is running out of time to find a solution before the opening race of the season in Australia on March 26.

"The team has made significant progress under its new ownership since the start of 2015, the highlight of which included securing a constructors championship point in the preceding F1 season, but the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

"During recent months, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available.

"Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place JRSL into administration. The joint administrators are currently assessing options for the Group.

"The 2017 season commences on 26 March in Melbourne, Australia, and the team's participation will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity."

Recent discussions with American investors led by race promoter Tavo Hellmund proved unsuccessful, while other possible buyers have not been found as yet. Rowley said that no redundancies of the 212 staff at the team had been made as yet and confirmed staff had been paid up to the end of December.

"No redundancies have been made following JRSL's entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of December. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether new investment can be secured in the limited time available and the joint administrators will continue to review the ongoing financial position," he added. "Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd, the sister company of JRSL, which has the rights for the team's participation in F1 is not in administration.

"We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties."

The team's predecessor, Marussia, went into administration at the end of 2014 when it collapsed with £35 million worth of debts and was forced to skip the final three races of the season. It successfully exited administration in early 2015 and returned to the grid under the rebranded Manor name.

Manor suffered a huge blow at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, when Sauber scored two points to jump Manor in the constructors' championship standings -- costing it millions of pounds in prize money.

Manor was unavailable for comment on Friday morning when asked by ESPN.