Melrose Racing Team
Melrose Racing Team is a F1RWRS team formed by former 5 time Formula One World Champion Daniel Melrose after buying out JLD Motorsport during the 2011 Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series season. The team's current drivers are Australian former F1 world champion Rhys Davies and Frenchman Phillippe Nicolas, although Melrose himself has driven for the team since it existed in it's former guise JLD before moving to ArrowTech for the 2013 season.
The team has also competed in Rejects of LFS in 2011 (then F1 Rejects LFS Cup) and again in 2015. In addition, MRT runs a young driver development program in the F2RWRS with their own team and a satellite outfit in the F3RWRS through JLD.
Melrose Racing Team was formed in 2010 as part of the 2010 Formula One Rejects World Championship which Melrose drove in. Midway through the season, Qantas jumped on board as title sponsor for the team and stayed with the team before announcing they would no renew their contract mid way through 2013.
During the 2011 F1RWRS season, Qantas also become title sponsor of JLD Motorsport as part of the buyout plan between JLD, MRT and German manufacturer BMW, who had started supplying engines to the JLD team at the beginning of the 2011 season.
MRT started the season with the M3 with a BMW V8 engine, which was based on the engines BMW used in Formula One. Whilst there was much change behind the scenes, the two incumbent drivers in Daniel Melrose and Jeroen Krautmeir were retained as the two drivers for the 2012 season. There was a lot of expectation riding on the team as Krautmeir had won the season ending United States Grand Prix and Melrose himself had finished runner up in the championship behind Prospec's Nathanael Spencer.
However Melrose's season got off to a disastrous start as he failed to Pre-Qualify for each of the first two races. Krautmeir had much better luck in qualifying by putting his MRT on pole at the Norisring. But as luck would have it, he would retire early on in the race due to a collision. This set up the catalyst of a disappointing season for the team. A single win for Krautmeir at the Kent Grand Prix ahead of Melrose (which incidentally was the first time in the series' history that a team scored a 1-2 in the race) and a few third places were the only real highlights of the season as by the end of the year, Melrose was out for the 2012 Budweiser 500 due to injury and the team had slipped to 6th in the constructor standings with their drivers 7th (Melrose) and 13th (Krautmeir). While Melrose initially had plans to promote Krautmeir to the lead driver role to spearhead MRT's 2013 season, they quickly went awry when the young German announced that he would be the star driver of the new Precision Motorsports program before that was cancelled when the new regulations were introduced.
With Melrose announcing his retirement from the sport amongst the rule shakeup (before changing his mind and taking up the second ArrowTech drive), the team decided to sign on 2011 champion Nathanael Spencer and promote Frenchman Phillippe Nicolas to a full time drive after he did a respectable job filling in for the Australian at the Budweiser 500. In the development phase, the car was renowned for exceeding all wind tunnel expectations and looked like to be a formidable force for 2013. However it turned out very quickly that BMW had erred massively in the design of an all new engine as it proved to be relatively gutless. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that they were effectively guaranteed starts at the beginning of the season the team would have been in even more dire straits.
Thanks to the luck of the draw concerning pre-qualifying, MRT were virtually guaranteed two cars on the grid for the first half of the season but very few people could see how they could stay there. Stay there they did though thanks to yet another race of attrition at Bathurst where the MRTs picked up the spoils with Spencer 5th and Nicolas 6th. Coupled with a second 6th place finish for Phillippe at Monaco where the car was genuinely competitive meant that MRT avoided the dreaded pre-qualifying for the second half of the season by the skin of their teeth
The tradeoff for staying out of pre-qualifying through was that now the team wasn't guaranteed two spots on the gird. It showed with Nicolas missing the cut for the first 2 races in a row in what was the beginning of an even more horrific second half of the season as even Spencer's considerable talent couldn't get anything out of the lamentable M4. For round 11 at Estoril, both MRTs were on the grid before both were taken out in the first lap pileup before the season lurched went to a new low as both MRTs failed to make the grid for the first time that season at Cyprus. The dreadful performance was allegedly the catalyst for Melrose being arrested by authorities in Cyprus for trashing his hotel room in a fit of uncontrollable rage.
A top 10 finish in Macau for Spencer was followed by another DNQ as neither car looked like having a chance at top 10 results in the races by season's end. The team eventually finished a dismal 14th in the constructors championship, which was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for such a large organisation.
Sweeping changes were made in the backroom of the team as part of the fallout of the 2013 season. In addition to that, a stroke of genius from the marketing department meant Virgin become title sponsors of the team after Qantas decided not to renew their contract. With the brand new BMW P89 turbo engine, the team showed up to pre-season testing in the M5 and were immediately well over a second clear of the rest of the field. This pace was confirmed at the first race in Australia where Spencer collected both pole and fastest lap. However, thanks to two spins and an eventual BMW engine failure, it was Nicolas who collected the spoils, scoring the first win of his career around the streets for Adelaide.
While the MRT was incredibly quick, the new BMW engine proved fragile as in the first 5 races, the team's two drivers had only 3 finishes between them, all of them being victories. This meant that MRT entered the European season leading the constructors championship from main rivals DGNgineering, the team Chris Dagnall had formed in late 2012, having bought up some of Jones Racing's unwanted assets. The unreliable BMW engine continued to be a thorn in the side of MRT's season long campaign as time and time again, the engine would blow up whilst the teams two main drivers Spencer and Nicolas were in competitive positions on the track.
Off the track and trouble had started brewing between Spencer and team boss Daniel Melrose on the back of several costly accidents and poor performances over the course of the year for the Brit. Eventually, Melrose's patience with the former F1RWRS champion ran out when he benched Spencer for the Mediterranean Grand Prix, with Melrose's long time friend Dave Simpson driving for a one-off event while Melrose looked for a permanent replacement for 2015 and beyond. Spencer returned for two more races before he was given the sack for good and replaced by former four time F1 world champion Rhys Davies, another close friend of Melrose.
Despite signing a two year deal with the Australian, it didn't improve the fortunes of the team in the last two races as their two cars made it to the finish line only 8 times all year. However, all but two of them were race victories and with a further 2nd place finish for Nicolas, the team had amassed a total of 66 points, which was enough for second in the Constructors Championship, a far cry from the woes of the year before. 46 of those points were scored by Nicolas as the Frenchmen had a breakout year, winning four races and finishing runner-up in the title race whilst upstaging the more experienced Spencer in the other car.
MRT entered the 2015 pre-season as the championship favourites, despite the ban on turbo-charged engines that had come into effect over the off-season. Their pre-season buildup wasn't without problems however with Nicolas injuring himself in a skiing accident over Christmas, ruling him out for the entirety of pre-season testing. In his place, MRT drafted in yet another former F1 world champion in Brit Nathan McKane, who immediately impressed team bosses up and down the paddock with his blistering pre-season form in both the pre-season tests, which helped earn him a drive in the ROLFS in his attempts to gain a superlicense for the F1RWRS.
While it soon became apparent that several teams had closed the gap to MRT, the team still had the edge over its rivals as Davies graphically demonstrated with two comfortable wins in the first two races of the year at Adelaide and Bathurst, becoming the first Australian driver to win a home race since 2011 in the process.
MRT Junior Team
With the closure of satellite team Horizon Motorsport at the end of 2013 and the formation of the F2RWRS, Melrose decided to enter a team in the feeder category with Australian Mitchell Macklin and Frenchwoman Marie Simon. The first race of the series was the Fedex 100 where Macklin finished a respectable 3rd and Simon 8th after the 100 lap race around the IMS.
2014 got off to a bittersweet start for the team. Even though Macklin scored the first win at Turkey and Simon made her way through the field after a first lap accident with Canadian Tommy Nash to finish 2nd, the event was marred by the horrendous accident between Laurent Seron and Andrej Kremnicky, which put both of them out for several events due to injuries sustained by the crash. For the next race at Monaco, Macklin ran a special livery with associate sponsors Shell and DHL stepping up their involvement for the race. After a race long battle with Tropican Alberto Cara, Macklin won his second race in a row on one of motorsport's grandest stages while teammate Simon retired early with transmission failure.
MRT scored another 1-2 at the next race in the monsoonal conditions at the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours as their two drivers quickly established their mark on the F2RWRS field. Britain was all about fighting back however as both Macklin and Simon got involved in early race incidents but both eventually made their way back in the points. Macklin got involved in more early incidents in the next two races but made his way back into the points on both occasions. Simon scored another 2nd place at Austria but failed to finish the next 3 races, including instigating a multi-car pileup at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Main Article: Melrose Racing Team Engine Workshop
Alongside the main operations at Munich, MRT operate an engine construction, tuning and distribution workshop at the former Toyota F1 facilities in Cologne on behalf of BMW's engine supply program. Initially, the workshop was focused solely on the F1RWRS with the team supplying MRT and JLD with BMW works engines since 2011. Over the years, the workshop also supplied several customer teams with engines, most notably Australian Minardi, Horizon Motorsport and Simpson Motorsports.
However, most of the workshop's resources are dedicated to their profitable engine supply programs in the F2RWRS and F3RWRS when both categories were created. BMW was initially the sole engine supplier for the F2RWRS as they were the only manufacturer that had an available engine for the category before the market was opened up for 2015, which meant that BMW was reduced to supplying 5 teams, including MRT. Meanwhile, in the F3RWRS, BMW are the biggest supplier of engines with 7 client teams including JLD for 2015. For commercial reasons, the majority of the engines in the F3RWRS are rebadged as Minis as part of BMW's promotion program for the company but the engines are otherwise identical to the BMW-badged powerplants.
Complete F1RWRS Results
|2012|| Melrose Racing Team M3
Melrose Racing Team M3B
|2013||Melrose Racing Team M4||BMW P88||TAS||AUS||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||NED||BEL||POR||MED||MAC||CHN||JPN||BRA||4||14th|
|2014||Melrose Racing Team M5||BMW P89||TAS||AUS||BRA||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||BEL||ITA||MED||NED||MAC||CHN||JPN||66||2nd|
|2015||Melrose Racing Team M6||BMW P90||TAS||AUS||MED||MON||MEX||USA||CAN||GBR||GER||BEL||AUT||ITA||NED||CHN||JPN||BRA||108||1st|
|2016||Melrose Racing Team M7||BMW P90/16||AUS||NSW||GBR||ITA||AUT||CAN||SUS||NUS||GER||NED||MON||BEL||MEX||ARG||CHN||JPN||0*||NC*|
Complete F2RWRS Results
|2014||Lola F2-14||BMW P87||TUR||MON||FRA||GBR||AUT||GER||NED||BEL||HUN||CZE||ITA||POR||ESP||CAN||100||152||1st|
|2015||Lola F2-15||BMW P87/15||TAS||RSA||TUR||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||NED||BEL||POR||ITA||SIN||JPN||USA||100||36||9th|
|2016||Lola F2-16||BMW P87/16||AUS||PAC||GBR||ITA||AUT||TUR||USA||GER||NED||BEL||MON||MEX||CHN||JPN||TR1||TR2||0*||NC*|
|Current F1RWRS Teams|
|Defunct F1RWRS Teams|
| Acuri - AMR - ARC - Bangelia - Calinetic - Dagnall/DGN - FAT Turbo - Flying Fish Motorsports - GRM - Hemogoblin - Horizon - JLD - KQ |
Lotus - MAN - Minardi - Mitie - O'Lauchlan - Pacchia - Phoenix - Rosenforth - SOTL - Tropico - Trueba - Virgin - West Cliff - ZimSport