The story chronicling the the team that was born in 2010 as Virgin Racing has been an interesting one. After its eponymous supercar manufacturer went bankrupt and the owners fells short of cash, it seemed the team’s saga had finally come to an end.
However, the Marussia team was able to surmount obstacle after obstacle, and while not preordained, their entry to the grid in Australia now seems probable for a change. This comes by way of a new investor, who is putting around 45 million dollars into the team.
Named Steven Fitzpatrick, the new investor is a 37 year old energy magnate who is founder and head of Northern Irish energy company Ovo.
While it is unclear where all of the funding is coming from, Fitzpatrick has said that it is not taken out of Ovo, but he is instead using his own personal capital. Now renamed Manor, the team has seemingly been given a new breath of life after Fitzpatrick’s investment.
Fitzpatrick tells the narrative of his involvement with the team and how he came to invest in it:
“Until November last year I was on wrong side of F1 fence. My most recent F1 experience was I went to the grand prix in Singapore with a friend; we were walking down the track at the end of the race and looking at all the fans lined up on the pitwall – and looking at garages. I said ‘we need to figure out a way to get over there.
For a long time I had an ambition to own an F1 team, I was hoping Ovo Energy would be successful enough to own a team, but I didn’t expect it to be in 2015.
“ picked up the phone to Geoff Rowley, the administrator, before the last race in Abu Dhabi and got an understanding of the current situation at the time, and challenges the team were facing: the amount of money involved, level of debts involved. It seemed fascinating – almost hopeless.
It looked like one of those situations that with more time to understand everything, there was maybe a great opportunity. But it was too late. There wasn’t any realistic possibility of reviving the team.
Having made it through the hard five years, to get to the point of ninth in the championship, two years in the top 10, to reach the first rung of financial stability and due to receive fund money, to have run out of steam right at the last hurdle… It seemed like too good story to let end there.
One of the things that really motivated me was how great a story it could be to figure out a way to help this team cling to survival.”