Report: Marussia spokesperson confirms change of team ownership


With Marussia Motors, the parent company of the Marussia Formula One team, having apparently suspended its car-making operations, the F1 squad is now under new ownership.

Team spokesperson Tracy Novak has told Russian publication R-Sport that another company, Marussia Communications Limited, has taken control.

However, she would not comment on when said ownership change took place and if MCL was the same company as that of an entity of the same name that was supposedly registered in Dublin.

“There is no link between the two companies (Marussia Motors and Marussia F1 Team) financially or technically,” Novak said. “The F1 team has been an independent operation for some time.

“The F1 team has had a positive start to the 2014 season and looks forward to continued success in the pursuit of its racing ambitions.”

Marussia Motors entered F1 in 2010 after purchasing a controlling stake in the Virgin Racing team, which became known as Marussia Virgin Racing in 2011. The team became simply ‘Marussia’ in 2012.

The car company is known primarily for its B1 and B2 supercars, but according to R-Sport, those projects are no longer operational and that its staff in Moscow has reportedly “left the company en masse and joined a government-run technical institute.”

Novak, however, says that the apparent problems at Marussia Motors won’t hamper the F1 team’s day-to-day business. The team is headquartered in Banbury, England.

“The supercar project was ambitious, but it is disappointing that it was unable to get to market,” she added. “There is no impact whatsoever on the Formula 1 team’s operation.”

Marussia’s F1 team fields programs for Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi. So far, the team has an early grip on the 10th-place spot in the Constructor’s Championship that is coveted by them and rival Caterham.

Chilton has already claimed two 13th-place finishes this season, including last weekend at Bahrain. No doubt those will help Marussia’s cause as they seek to claim the 10th spot and the sizable amount of prize money that goes with it.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.