If Manor finds an eleventh-hour saviour, the embattled backmarker team would have to race its 2016 car early this season.
That is the claim of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, as Manor reportedly enters its final 10 days before administrators move to close down the team.
“One month before testing, no investor has been found yet,” reports Tobias Gruner.
“We hear that Renault and Toro Rosso have already taken some Manor employees under contract.
“In order to buy some time, Manor has now asked the FIA for help,” he revealed.
Auto Motor und Sport said an Asian consortium and American Tavo Hellmund may be interested in buying Manor, but no deal is done.
So for now, the team’s British headquarters are quiet, even though rival teams are busily preparing their radically different cars for the new 2017 rules.
Gruner continued: “Even if an investor is found, the racing operation cannot start again immediately. To have more time for a last-minute sale, the team has asked the FIA if it can use its old (2016) car in the first three races.”
The report said the move would require the consent not only of the FIA but the other ten teams.
“It is clear that a 2016 car will have no chance of the 107pc qualifying rule against the faster 2017 cars,” Gruner concluded.