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2015-03-05 08:19

HOPEFUL DRIVER: Manor driver Max Chilton is still hoping to race in the 2015 Melbourne F1 GP. Image: Twitter

LONDON, England - Manor Marussia, a Formula 1 tail-ender which almost collapsed financially, will return with a R920-million budget in 2015.

The team, at a launch event in London, confirmed it had won its race to make it to Melbourne thanks to the personal investment of Stephen Fitzpatrick who heads a British electricity company called Ovo Energy.

British newspapers say he is investing the equivalent of about R450-million and the rest is said to be coming from 2014 prize-money that is expected to arrive later in March 2015.


Fitzpatrick told reporters he had invited Justin King, former boss of supermarket chain Sainsbury's, to buy half the team but had instead been appointed interim chairperson and adviser.

"We're not expecting to win any races," joked 37-year-old Fitzpatrick, "at least not until half-way through the season."

Manor has scrambled to modify Marussia's 2014 car to comply with 2015 rules but the team said a fully-2015 car would debut "later in the season".

Fitzpatrick agreed that the situation at Manor had appeared "hopeless".

Team president Graeme Lowdon added: "It's been a challenging period but we've come through it and now we just want to go racing again."

The modified 2014 car will be crash-tested on Thursday; driver Will Stevens' team mate would be appointed "soon".

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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