The Manor GP team (formerly Marussia) is set to exit administration later this month following successful talks with a new investor.
The outfit entered administration last year when majority owner Andrey Cheglakov – who also co-owns the failed Marussia Motors – pulled out of the team, leaving its budget with a major shortfall.
The team missed the final three races of the 2014 season despite an almost successful comeback in Abu Dhabi which failed at the final hurdle, unlike rival Caterham which did make it to the final race.
However it’s been reported that administrators FRP Advisory have come to an agreement with a new investor which will see the team exit administration on February 19th.
“My understanding is that John Booth and Graeme Lowdon will be running the team and they do have a plan to take part in the first race,” said joint-administrator James Rossiter in a statement.
It will operate via a Company Voluntary Arrangement which allows an insolvent company to trade, whilst paying its creditors a fixed amount over a specified period of time.
The team has debts of around £31 million, with Ferrari its largest creditor at £16.6m. McLaren is the third largest creditor with an outstanding total of over £7m.
The news could see the team make a return to the grid under the Manor GP title which has been awarded a race licence by the FIA and is therefore eligible to compete.
With talks at a very advanced stage, investors have already paid the necessary entry fee to take part this year.
The team is also eligible to collect £30m in prize money if it competes this season thanks to Jules Bianchi’s points finish in Monaco, which is a major plus for any investor.
An additional rumour which has swirled the Jerez paddock this week, although deemed very unlikely, is that the mystery investor is McLaren and its engine partner Honda.
With the team already owed £7m, it could purchase the outfit for a very small fee and operate a B-team, giving Honda useful engine data – something it lacks supplying just one team – whilst McLaren could give Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne race seats for the season.