January 06, 2017

LONDON (AP) The operating company of Manor Racing was placed in administration on Friday, putting in major doubt the British-based Formula One team's participation this year.

Manor, which finished 11th and last in the constructors' championship last season, has been seeking new investors, and administrator FRP Advisory said there was ''a limited window of opportunity'' for new owners before preseason testing and the first race in Melbourne on March 26.

Geoff Rowley, a joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said, ''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 Just Racing Services Limited into administration.''

Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd, the sister company of JRSL, which has the rights for the team's participation in F1, was not in administration, which is designed to protect insolvent companies from their creditors.

FRP said no redundancies have been made following JRSL's entering into administration, and all 212 staff were paid in full to the end of December.

Manor, formerly known as Marussia, which went into administration in late 2014, was in discussions with investor groups throughout last year, and agreed on terms of a sale to an Asian investment consortium in December, only for the deal to fall through.

German driver Pascal Wehrlein secured the team's only point last year with a 10th-place finish in Austria. But in the the penultimate race in Brazil, Manor was overtaken by Sauber in the standings following Felipe Nasr's ninth-place finish, a result that was reported to have cost Manor some $30 million in prize money.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, owner of Manor Racing since 2015, said in a letter to staff on Friday that it was a ''disappointing end to a two-year journey for Manor.''

''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. For much of the season we were on track,'' Fitzpatrick wrote.

''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.''

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