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Manor drive ‘a lot more attractive’

Graeme Lowdon believes Manor will become a much more attractive team for young drivers to join given their link up with Mercedes and Williams for 2016.

Saved in an 11th hour bid, Manor have spent much of this year’s championship lapping at the back of the field while powered by a 2014 Ferrari engine.

Next year, though, the team is expecting a massive leap forward.

Having signed a deal with Mercedes, Manor will have the premier engine in their car while a technical partnership with Williams is also set to help.

“You look at the spread of performance on the grid at the minute, and if you take us out of the equation it’s still a sizeable spread,” Lowdon, Manor’s sporting director, told Autosport.

“But that said, I think drivers can come into teams now pretty much anywhere on the grid, and have the opportunity to show the teams and sponsors what they can do.

“With all of our changes we feel we’re going to be in the pack, and that certainly makes the drive a lot more attractive to younger drivers looking to come into Formula 1, that’s for sure.”

And the expected improvements could also mean bigger sponsorship for Manor via the drivers.

“We’re going to be spending a lot more [money] racing next year than we have this year.

“It’s clearly pretty rare you have a scenario where a driver pays absolutely the full amount for a Formula 1 team to go racing. That would have to be pretty sizeable to say the least.

“But yes, the seat will be more attractive both from a sporting and a commercial side.”

As for whether one of those seats will be going to Pascal Wehrlein, Lowdon says the Mercedes protégé is just one candidate.

“He is part of a pool of very talented drivers at the moment, but there are others and I wouldn’t want to single any person out,” he added.

“I think there is a good set of drivers who are keen to get into Formula 1 and have the ability.”

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