Stephen Fitzpatrick: Manor's fate was sealed in Brazil

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Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick says his outfit's demise was effectively sealed when Sauber scored points at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The British team announced on Friday morning that its operating company, Just Racing Services Limited, had entered administration after being unsuccessful in its attempts to find much-needed investment in recent months.

Despite getting as far as a heads-of-terms agreement with an Asian investment firm in December, the potential buy-out collapsed, giving Manor's parent company no alternative but to place the team in administration on the eve of the 2017 season.

Fitzpatrick admitted the two points Felipe Nasr scored in Brazil -- which saw Sauber leapfrog Manor up to 10th in the constructors' championship standings -- ultimately sealed the Banbury-based outfit's fate.

"When I took over the team in 2015, the challenge was clear; it was imperative that the team finish in 10th place or better in 2016," Fitzpatrick said. "For much of the season we were on track. But the dramatic race in Brazil ended our hopes of this result and ultimately brought into doubt the team's ability to race in 2017.

"I look back on 2016 with pride in what Manor accomplished in what was the most successful year in the team's history. I would like to thank the team for their constant hard work, determination and passion. We made a huge amount of progress on and off track but ultimately it was not enough."

Manor had looked on course for a 10th place finish -- and a much-needed prize money boost -- for much of the season after Pascal Werhlein finished 10th at the Austrian Grand Prix. But Nasr's ninth place at his home race in November proved enough for the Swiss team to overtake Manor in the standings.

Fitzpatrick, who spearheaded Manor's recovery from the administration of its predecessor, Marussia, in early 2015, was left disappointed that his team ran out of time to secure its future before the start of 2017.

"Today's decision to put the team into administration represents a disappointing end to a two year journey for Manor. Over much of the last year we have been in discussions with several investor groups, and had finally agreed terms of a sale to an Asian investment consortium in December.

"This would have provided the team with a strong platform for continued growth and development. Unfortunately time ran out before they could complete the transaction.

"Not wishing to repeat events of the past, we resolved in 2015 not to start any season that we did not know for certain we could complete, so we have taken the difficult decision to put the team's operating company into administration."