After battling to bring the Manor Marussia team to the F1 grid in 2015, Graeme Lowdon and John Booth officially terminated their agreements with the team on November 20th , leaving Steven Fitzpatrick, Abdulla Boulsien, and Vincent Casey as the remaining registered directors of the team. At this time, it is not clear if the name Manor will leave the team with Graeme and John, but it is understood a name change was discussed in a recent strategy group review. It should also be noted a holding company Just Racing is registered alongside Manor Grand Prix Racing at the team headquarters in Banbury.
Both Graeme Lowdon and John Booth are highly respected figures in the F1 paddock, as is the racing pedigree of Manor. Until a recent interview for Sky Sports it was believed Lowdon and Booth came as a pair, and the partnership would be unlikely to be seen in F1 in the near future. However, during the interview suggestion was made that Graeme Lowdon may be joining another team on the grid in a new capacity. In addition, the launch of the ‘@realmanor’ twitter handle suggests the name may continue to be used in the future away from the current team.
With a future as part of the team formally know as Manor Marussia seemingly out of the question, this article will explore the possible new home on the 2016 grid for Graeme and the likelyhood of each. It has been assumed that any new role would be for a UK based team, and that despite questionable management decisions made at Red Bull Racing in recent seasons, management remain supportive of the current structure. Given the changes with the Renault F1 team a move towards Enstone has also been disregarded at this time.
Williams F1 Team:
Despite finishing 3rd in the 2015 Constructors Championship the Williams F1 Team and drivers have voiced disappointment with the team performance, seemingly unable to extract that final element of performance required to mount a genuine challenge for the top step. This coupled with a number of blunders in pitstop procedures and rumours of senior management moving to new challenges with the Haas F1 Team, perhaps the pragmatic no nonsense racing approach adopted by Graeme Lowdon would sit well alongside the commercial savvy of Claire Williams.
Sahara Force India F1 Team:
Change in team branding and possibly ownership is expected in the near future, Graeme Lowdon and even the Manor brand could offer racing pedigree and a steady hand during a possibly lively management period.
Haas F1 Team:
Success in F1 comes through experience. Graeme Lowdon has highly relevant experience to any new team joining the sport, he knows how to run a team on a budget and optimise all resources available. He also has practical experience of working with Scuderia Ferrari and knows the Haas UK headquarters well.
Ron Dennis has publically stated the team will be making a series imminent management changes, it is possible the team may again look to split the role of Team Principle bringing in a head such as Graeme Lowdon could be bring a fresh perspective on how to approach racing, and reduce the burden of responsibility on Éric Boullier.
In conclusion, it would be possible to draw sound rationale for any of the afore mentioned teams to be keen on attracting Lowdon’s services. The question should also be which prospect would be appealing to him. Outside of motorsport Graeme Lowdon is a successful entrepreneur, co founding Nomad Digital, providers of Wifi and wireless systems in transportation networks. His success away from the F1 grid allows him a security that he does not ‘need’ the sport. Either way it is highly unlikely any announcement will be made until the new year, but of the teams mentioned the most likely would seem to be either the Haas F1 Team in a bid to further strengthen the management structure or what could be a very exciting challenge with Force India.
That being said those fashion aware amongst you may have noticed since leaving the Manor Massuisa team Graeme elected to wear blue in most public appearances. Which team wears blue?