The off-season continues to spring surprises and the latest is that Ron Dennis and the Chinese consortium that was set to takeover McLaren have now turned their attention to Manor Racing.
Ron Dennis was involved with McLaren for 35-years and whilst his alleged controlling personality was character assassinated in the press, he did oversee McLaren’s golden era. According to some, Dennis is looking for a way back into Formula One and is lining up a bid to purchase back-marker team Manor.
Manor are actively seeking a new investment deal to secure their future in the sport, which is set to become increasingly expensive with the deregulated in-season engine tinkering that’s expected to smash the budgetary ceiling in 2017.
Manor’s current owner Stephen Fitzpatrick also negotiating with American Businessman Tavo Hellmund, who was crucial in reviving the US Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix respectively. His Manor vision would likely involve the services of either Esteban Gutierrez or Felipe Nasr.
What Dennis would bring, besides his competence in running an F1 team, would be a possible partnership with Honda in 2018. The Japanese manufacturer has no known qualms with Dennis, unlike Mercedes, and is actively seeking a customer team for its power-units from 2018 onwards.
One driver set to stay for another season with the team is Pascal Wehrlein, who was arguably the best rookie of 2016 with five Q2 appearances and the team’s first points finish in over two-years.
Despite what was a great season for Wehrlein, his reputation has been slandered by accusations of arrogance, which team principal Dave Ryan is happy to correct.
“Some people have an opinion of Pascal and it’s just wrong. The guy is just completely honest, he tries really hard and he’s incredibly talented.
People say he’s arrogant. Well I’ve never seen a hint of that, ever. Everyone who’s ever got to interview him comes away saying ‘what a lovely lad’ and he is. If you spend five minutes, or even two minutes, talking to him, you quickly understand that he’s a super guy.
He’s not arrogant, he’s just completely focused on his job.”
– Dave Ryan