Manor Marussia aim to be ready for start of F1 season

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Stephen Fitzpatrick
Born in Northern Ireland, Stephen Fitzpatrick launched his first company in 2001.

The Manor Marussia team have confirmed they intend to return to Formula 1 in time for the start of the season.

The team went into administration in October but, as revealed by BBC Sport, have secured investment from Stephen Fitzpatrick, boss of energy firm Ovo.

Former Sainsbury's boss Justin King has joined as interim chairman.

He said he was confident that Manor had "the right people, the right values and sheer hard work" and would be "competitive at the highest level".

King is not financially involved in the team but will take a leading role on the business side of the operation.

Fitzpatrick's investment is a personal one and the money he has put into the team does not come from Ovo.

He said: "I have a lifelong passion for F1 and can't wait for the season ahead."

Manor Marussia have announced Englishman Will Stevens will be one of their drivers and said a deal to sign the second would be completed soon.

The team's new car, a modified version of the 2014 model, must pass F1's mandatory crash tests before they can race at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne from 13-15 March.

Those tests are scheduled to take place this week.

Graeme Lowdon, who has been with the team through its various guises as Manor, Virgin and Marussia, remains as president and sporting director.

He said: "It has been a challenging period for all of us but we've come through it and now we just want to go racing again.

"With formidable new business leadership in Stephen Fitzpatrick and the board presence of Justin King, we are now in a great place ahead of the new season. This is a fantastic and very rewarding moment for all those involved with the team."