Manor gain Mercedes engine boost for 2016 F1 season

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Graeme Lowdon & John Booth
Manor Marussia President Graeme Lowdon (left) speaks with Manor Marussia Team Principal John Booth (right)

The struggling Manor team have received a huge boost by securing Mercedes engines for next season.

Manor have been at the back of the grid since making their debut as Virgin Racing in 2010.

But the new deal, for Formula 1's best engine, is likely to signal a major upturn in form.

Manor have also agreed a technical partnership with Williams, who will supply their transmission and suspension.

"Ultimately, the strength of the Mercedes-Benz package speaks for itself," said Manor team principal John Booth.

Manor only made it into this season after an 11th-hour rescue package was secured after going into administration in October last year.

Booth said this season had been a "rebuilding year in every aspect of our operation" and that the team had "put in place a strong foundation from which to progress".

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said the deal had happened "in anticipation of Renault's takeover of the Lotus F1 team".

Lotus are in the first year of a three-year deal with Mercedes but the plan is to use Renault engines in 2016 after they are taken over by the French car manufacturer.

Renault and Lotus signed a letter of intent to complete the sale earlier this week, but the fact that their engines have now been given to Manor suggests that the deal is now certain to be finalised.

Toto Wolff
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has said this deal fits with Mercedes' F1 philosophy

Wolff said: "Manor is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit."

Speaking at the Japanese Grand Prix, Wolff said: "We like Manor a lot. Because there is a competitive edge to the whole story, that if Manor gets the right chassis and the right engine, it would be a pretty interesting narrative to see how the team develops."

He added that the deal did not necessarily require Manor to use a Mercedes-backed young driver.

"The harsh financial reality is that Manor needs to refinance themselves and raise the budgets," Wolff said.

"I'm not sure that we would prepare to place a driver with the budgets they could probably raise in the driver markets if we were to supply engines, because it could be an attractive offer for young drivers."