Manor was 'so close' to F1 midfield - Furbatto
5 April 2017 – The now-defunct Manor team had the potential to haul itself into Formula 1's midfield in 2017, according to its former Chief Designer, Luca Furbatto.
Manor, having been rescued on the eve of the 2015 campaign, made substantial progress in 2016, securing current-year Mercedes power units, and scoring a point in Austria courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein.
However, Manor finished at the foot of the 11-team Constructors' Championship and its search for fresh investment proved fruitless, with the team entering administration in January.
Work continued to ready the team for the start of the season, in case a buyer was subsequently found, but Manor's entry was withdrawn in early March, confirming its demise.
"The main issue is that the owner had stopped with the procurement of car parts since late November," Furbatto said in an interview with FormulaPassion.It.
"This decision ultimately resulted in the inability to attract new investors as the team could not guarantee to be on the grid in Melbourne with a 2017 car.
"After the company entered administration we switched focus on a programme to legalise the 2016 car for the start of the season, buying us time in order to produce and complete the 2017 car for race three.
"This activity extended well into February but stopped when the owner withdrew the entry for the 2017 championship."
Furbatto expressed frustration at the situation, reckoning Manor was "so close" to breaking into Formula 1's midfield group.
"Having gained five seconds per lap between 2015 to 2016 we were convinced that our tools to estimate competitors' pace were pretty accurate," he said.
"I have no doubt that Manor would have been in the mix of the midfield. Our expectation was to be around three seconds per lap off the front runners.
"The biggest disappointment was related to the fact that we were so close to making it happen."