The news broke yesterday evening that after Marussia asked for the use of their 2014 car in the 2015 season had been rejected after the F1 strategy group had not come to an agreement for this.
It seemed that the main team behind this was in fact Force India. Force India are also struggling with money issues, so their objection did not come that much of a surprise. Force India missed the first pre season test in Jerez as they wanted more time in Toyota’s wind tunnel, they did originally think of bringing the 2014 car if someone who wanted to pay for the seat was found, but that came to nothing. They also claimed that Jerez’s track surface was too abrasive, and that they never usually race on that track. It now looks likely that the Silverstone based team will miss the second test in Barcelona (which also hosts Test week 3, and the 5th round of the world championship.
However this did come as a surprise to me, as it was announced in December that also struggling team Caterham had they been able to make the grid (which looks extremely unlikely) was allowed to use their car. I see no reason for the Marussia car not to be used; they aren’t exactly going to be challenging Force India at all.
Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley stated that “During the meeting it emerged there were compliance issues and that the application lacked substance. Equally, the speculative application submitted contained no supporting documentation to reinforce the case for offering special dispensation. For example, no details were supplied of who the new owners would be or the operational structures that would be put in place.
Given the lack of information, uncertain guarantees, and the speculative nature of the application, the decision was taken that it is better to focus on ensuring the continued participation of the remaining independent teams.”
Another issue with Marussia is that if they were to return they would have no base, as the Banbury factory was sold to Gene Haas in an auction in December, along with their half finished 2015 car. There is one option to return to Dinnington, which is where they were based when they first entered the sport under ‘Virgin Racing’.
Multiple F1 fans took to twitter to express their feelings. 1 spokesperson plainly said “It’s disgusting”, whereas another said “It’s sad to see that’s what it has come to and Marussia will be missed but harsh to lay 100% all the blame on FI”. One saw it from the point of view of the sport’s financial status, “It’s not so much the fact they said no, but the fact it truly represents the sorry financial state of the sport right now.” A final spokesperson said, “I think it’s sad and can’t really understand their reasons, but that sort of decision shouldn’t be left up to competitors.”
In my personal opinion, I find it a sad day for motorsport, as we lose another Formula 1 Team in a way that Formula 1 fans never want, I am personally surprised that Caterham got the nod over Marussia, but that fact that we have lost 2 teams over the winter, and we have 3 more teams that aren’t financially sound, it doesn’t look great for the F1 teams of today.