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Businessman pumped £7m into F1 team Manor Racing before it folded

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Written by: The Business | Posted 12 October 2017 7:52

Businessman pumped £7m into F1 team Manor Racing before it folded

A county businessman has shown his support for a sports team by allegedly lending it £7million in attempt to keep the enterprise going.

Accounts have apparently just been filed which show Gloucestershire resident and boss of energy supplier Ovo, Stephen Fitzpatrick, lent the money to the now defunct Formula One team Manor racing.

It was a financial lifetime aimed at keeping the British team afloat and was given, according to the Sunday Times, through his private holding company Imagination Industries - formerly known as Ovo Group.
In the newspaper report Mr Fitzpatrick, an Ulsterman by birth who founded Ovo near to his home near Cirencester before moving it to Bristol, bought Manor racing two years ago and lent the team a total of £19.4million.

It is understood Mr Fitzpatrick, whose company was also headline sponsor of this year’s Tour of Britain cycling race, Stage 7 of which travelled through the Cotswolds and ended in Cheltenham, worked hard to find a buyer for the F1 team.


However, it is understood he saw any deal evaporate after Manor was overtaken by Sauber in the construction championship in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil in 2016.

Administrator FRP Advisory were given the control of Just Racing Services, the operating company for the F1 team, by Manor’s directors in January.
Some 200-plus staff lost their jobs.

Mr Fitzpatrick, said in a letter to the team’s factory in Banbury: “Unfortunately time ran out before they could complete the transaction.

“Not wishing to repeat the events of the past, we resolved in 2015 not to start any season that we did not know for certain we could complete, so we have taken the difficult decision to put the team’s operating company into administration.”

Mr Fitzpatrick is the controlling shareholder in Ovo.
He sold a 17 per cent stake in the business to Mayfair Equity Partners in 2015 in a deal which valued the firm at £300million.

In 2016 the energy business, the largest of the competitors attempting to challenge the big six suppliers, moved into the black after selling its smart meter vision reporting a pre-tax profit of £30.4million for the first half of the year.

Ovo has a growing customer base. In June last year it had a reported 681,000 customers. Today that figure is close to 820,000.

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