Report: Indonesian KFC to purchase Manor F1

Struggling Formula One team reported to have found buyer.

Report: Indonesian KFC to purchase Manor F1

Jagonya Ayam - the Indonesian division of fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) - could be set for a takeover of struggling Formula One team, Manor F1.

A report recently published by AutoWeek claims that Manor’s owner, Stephen Fitzpatrick, had agreed terms with an investor.

Sources have positioned Jagonya Ayam as the likely new owner. Earlier this year, the PT Fast Food Indonesia-owned company entered into a partnership with the Campos team, who compete in the GP2 Series, a competition traditionally regarded as a Formula One feeder.

Sean Gelael, the 20-year-old Indonesian driver and son of PT Fast Food Indonesia president Ricardo Gelael, currently races for Campos in the GP2 Series. His promotion to Formula One would reportedly be a prerequisite for Jagonya Ayam’s involvement. 

PT Fast Food Indonesia was founded by the Gelael family in 1978.

When Jagonya Ayam signed with the Campos team, founder Adrian Campos described the firm as ‘a sponsor with Formula One potential’.

Manor F1 entered Formula One in 2010 as Virgin Racing, before being taken over by Russian manufacturer Marussia in 2012. They have been blighted by financial struggles since their inception, and struggled to return to the circuit in 2015 following the death of driver Jules Bianchi at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The team finished bottom of the Formula One constructors’ standings last year.

When asked if Manor’s participation in Formula One 2017 was doubtful, chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said: “This is a question for the team owners, not for me.”

Sean Gelael would become the second Indonesian driver to appear in Formula One, with countryman Rio Haryanto having raced for Manor during the 2016 season.