Was Manor's demise inevitable?

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One of the sad facts of life in F1 is its often transitory nature. People come and go, either tiring of the constant travel and opting for a factory role or a total career change, and teams can fold in an instant, taking hundreds of people with them overnight.

Such is the case for Manor. It was confirmed today that the last standing of 2010's three new entrants had finally fallen, weeks after the team's operating company was put into administration.

There had been multiple opportunities to sell the team to interested parties over the course of the past six months, with former team boss Stephen Fitzpatrick speaking openly about the fact that negotiations were ongoing. But the energy maverick reportedly put too high a price on the team, hoping to make a profit when his best option was to minimise his losses.

Just Racing Services, Manor's operating company, had been in administration since the start of the year, but there were hopes of a last minute rescue. Those hopes were dashed today, when the remaining staff at the team's Banbury headquarters were told that they were being made redundant immediately, with salaries paid until the end of January.

While the likelihood is remote, it remains possible that Manor could once again be saved at the eleventh hour. The team's entry in the F1 World Championship was held by a separate entity which has yet to enter administration or be declared insolvent. Should an interested party wish to pick up an F1 slot at a rock-bottom price, now is the time to do it.

Despite having the threat of imminent closure hanging over their heads for the past month, a core of dedicated staff has continued to work on plans for 2017, to the extent that resources have allowed. The team have also secured permission to rework their 2016 car should it become necessary for them to do so.

On the face of it, Manor should probably be written off as a done deal. But the team is comprised of dogged fighters who have risen from the ashes in the past, and for as long as the window of opportunity remains open we must hope that the Banbury racers will find themselves a saviour.

Like HRT and Caterham, who they joined (as Virgin Racing) as new entrants to the sport in 2010, Manor arrived with the deck stacked against them. The three teams had signed up under a system that would see those racing under capped budgets allowed aerodynamic freedoms -- such as moveable wings -- forbidden to those teams racing with bottomless bank accounts.

By the time the three new outfits joined the fold, however, the idea of a budget cap had been scrapped and the three teams who had calculated shoestring budgets found themselves competing with the big spenders under the same set of regulations. That was the first major obstacle.

Despite the uneven playing field, however, the newbie teams made incremental gains over their early seasons before one by one they dropped off the back of the grid as the political situation in the paddock made life even more untenable for the smaller teams.

Five years ago, the creation of the F1 Strategy Group saw the decision-making process removed from the inclusive Sporting and Technical Working Groups to the Strategy Group, a body comprised of six 'legacy' teams, the FIA, and FOM. The oft-criticised group saw the majority of members not only have greater power over the passing and vetoing of regulations, but also receive bonus payments from the promoter that further tipped the balance of the scales in favour of the same teams.

Faced with an insurmountable financial gulf in a climate of declining sponsorship revenues in Formula One, it is a wonder that any of 2010's newbies managed to last as long as they did.