Bernie Ecclestone has in effect fined Manor for its failure to participate in the Australian GP weekend – despite the FIA decreeing that the team had fulfilled its obligations.
While most observers are sympathetic with Manor’s predicament – given the timescale involved – the bottom line is that there has been a battle between Bernie and the FIA over whether the team should be allowed in. The fact that it had entered just before it went into administration was the key.
As explained here on Sunday, Bernie is of the view that the team committed to properly taking part from the start of the season, and he clearly contends that the team knew some time ago that it would not be able to run the cars. Having already paid $10m to the revived team he feels he has been duped.
Indeed, one observer phrased it thus: “They bullshitted Bernie, and you don’t bullshit Bernie…”
It’s understood Bernie was seriously underwhelmed with new owner Stephen Fitzpatrick and team chairman Justin King when he realised what scenario was playing out in Australia.
As noted on Sunday, Bernie had already suggested that a fourth non-participation after the three at the end of last year would be the end of the team.
He has not gone that far – presumably because the FIA Stewards gave the team the benefit of the doubt and that legally they are seen to have participated – but he has ‘fined’ the team by making it pay the freight costs to Australia.
“We should have never ever, ever allowed Manor to do what they’ve done. It’s our fault. I predicted this would happen,” Ecclestone told Reuters.
“They had no intention of racing in Australia. Zero. They couldn’t have raced if someone had gone there with a machine gun and put it to their head. It was impossible. So they had no intention.”
Regarding the freight he said: “They are not competing so they have to pay for that.”
It’s clear that it Manor fails to take to the track in Malaysia, or fails to play by Bernie’s rules in any way, the consequences could be serious…
Meanwhile this is what I wrote before the race on Sunday: https://adamcooperf1.com/2015/03/15/could-manor-be-in-big-trouble-with-ecclestone/