As the Formula 1 season revs up, one of its smallest teams is climbing out of the grave — thanks to the new Kiwi at the helm.
Driven’s Bob McMurray writes in his motorsport column tomorrow: “This time last year Manor Marussia, as they were then, were not even sure of competing in the 2015 F1 season although, due to a herculean effort by the team and its then management, the cars did make it to Melbourne. Sadly they were in no position to actually race.
“Fast forward and this season the revived Manor Racing Team is in a better position to complete testing and get on with the season as, hopefully, a force to be reckoned with.”
John Fitzpatrick, a British race fan and successful young businessman, rescued the team by injecting £30 million into the organisation. Late last year he engaged former McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan to be racing director.
“Ryan is an expat Kiwi with 35 years of experience in F1 with McLaren,” McMurray writes.
As a teenager he left Auckland to “do the OE” and continue driving speedway cars, as he had at Western Springs, and joined McLaren as a mechanic working on the likes of James Hunt’s 1976 championship winning car.
He progressed through the ranks as McLaren prospered, leaving in 2009.
“Since his arrival, the Manor team has attracted many well-known, experienced, highly skilled and talented individuals.
“Many of these people called Ryan and offered their services because they were excited about a new project, almost a start-up in F1 terms, and because they knew the calibre of Ryan and the people he was attracting to the team.”
For the 2016 season, Manor will use the Mercedes F1 engine and Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein recently signed as one of their drivers.
Read Bob McMurray’s full column in tomorrow’s Driven, with the Weekend Herald.