There will always be a need for a ‘backmarker’ team in Formula One

The news of Manor entering administration for what is effectively the second time in just over two years could be attributed to the way the sport has been structured, but by its very nature the sport also owns a lot to the smaller teams at the back of the grid, often seen as unsung heroes.

This season saw Pascal Wherlein and Esteban Ocon drive for the team, both Mercedes contracted drivers. Where else could both of them gain experience in the sport other than at Manor? There would have been very few other options, with these very teams offering a training ground before they are either dropped or moved up to a more competitive outfit.

We have seen in the past a team like Minardi, which was the training grond for many drivers including Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber – both finding themselves in World Championship winning positions later in their careers, while a number of drivers when through the Jordan ‘school’ – Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, Giancardo Fisichella, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barichello as their first drives.

Really these small teams are the life blood of the sport, and without the likes of main manufacturers putting their backing towards a junior second team like what Red Bull have done, then even the large teams will have to rely on them to get drivers promoted before being utilised within their own team.

With cost increasing and Ferrari in particular unwilling to accept that a cost cap would work, it is that very attitude which is killing the small independent teams, even noted with the financial bailout of Sauber last season.

So what gives? Really, either costs have to decrease in a meaningful way for all, or the engine manufacturers have to commit to owning a second team to gaurentee the life of the series. Either way, its about money not about the racing, and that isn’t what it should be about.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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