Marussia F1 Team sporting director Graham Lowdon has revealed to Sky Sports that the team held talks with fellow backmarkers Caterham over a possible merger during the off-season.
Bernie Ecclestone has made no secret of the fact that he would like the sport to have just ten teams, and with Marussia reportedly facing financial uncertainty, it would appear that the move was considered by both teams.
“I can confirm that discussions took place,” said Lowdon. “I wasn’t involved in them and as I understand it, the conclusion was unacceptable to our shareholders. So nothing happened.”
Although the talks broke down, Marussia are still confident of performing well this season, and their pace at last week’s Australian Grand Prix was highly impressive. Jules Bianchi finished one lap ahead of Caterham’s Charles Pic, displaying the true pace of the MR-02.
The team did however face a struggle to even arrive in Melbourne, having failed to sign the Concorde Agreement with F1 supremo Ecclestone. Therefore, passes for team personnel were withheld, making the weekend difficult for Marussia. Although they have not confirmed if they will sign the contract yet, Lowdon is confident that Marussia will continue to function despite Ecclestone’s rebuttal.
“We have sweated blood in this sport to build a team. We employ a lot of people and we have a huge fanbase. We are not giving up that easily, but each passing week makes us worry that we are deemed to have no place in this sport. We do not think that is the case.”