Marussia still waiting for F1 commercial deal

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Marussia say they are yet to be offered any commercial terms to continue competing in Formula One.

Bernie Ecclestone revealed yesterday he will no longer offer prize money to teams that finish outside the top ten, as Marussia did last year.

Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon told the Press Association that F1 owners CVC have shown no interest in concluding a deal: “We can confirm we’ve not had any offer from CVC at all. At no time have we had any proposal.”

The pressure on the team’s income has already had an effect on its plans for this season. Timo Glock was originally set to drive for the team but commercial imperatives forced them to hire two rookie drivers who could bring backing:

“It’s not ideal,” admitted Marussia’s technical director Pat Symonds. “It’s lovely if you can work with the great drivers because they’re such a pleasure to work with.”

“But, more than anything, what I wanted to see was continuity and, in Timo, I felt we had a guy who was contributing an awful lot to the team. I knew we were going to make some good steps forward in 2013 and I would love to have had him as a benchmark, to see how we’d done.”

“We couldn’t do it,” Symonds added, “it was a commercial decision”.

“And I’ll say to anyone that listens that not only is Timo a great guy for the team but also such a nice guy, just the way he took the whole thing was really, really superb.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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