Marussia enters administration, confirms US GP absence

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Marussia F1 Team has confirmed that it will not be racing at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix after entering administration.

Following the news that Caterham would miss the race at the Circuit of The Americas due to its financial predicament, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone revealed last week that Marussia would also not be making the trip over to Austin, Texas due to its own struggles.

In a statement, the administrators at Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd. (the company that trades as Marussia F1 Team) confirmed that the Anglo-Russian team will not be racing in Austin this weekend.

“Whilst the team has made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, the highlight of which included securing two constructors championship points in the current F1 season, the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment,” the statement read.

“With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long-term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available.

“Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the company into administration.

“With the Marussia F1 Team now in administration, the joint administrators have assessed that, given the current financial circumstances of the Group, it is not viable for the Marussia F1 Team to participate in the next race, the 2014 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, due to take place this weekend in Austin, Texas.

“The Company will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer term viability of the Company in its present form.

“Following Austin, there are two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, and the team’s participation in those races will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity.

“No redundancies have been made following the company’s entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October.

“The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the company can secure new investment in the limited time available.”

As a result, the grid in Austin will, as expected, be reduced to just 18 cars. This marks a nine-year low for Formula 1, which has not had just 18 cars starting a race weekend since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix when BAR was banned for two races.

Given that both teams have entered administration, unless a new buyer or fresh investment is found fast, it is unlikely that either Caterham or Marussia will take part in any more races this season.

The Concorde Agreement – the rights that all teams agree to when racing in F1 – does permit teams to miss three races without facing a penalty, meaning that it would be possible for Caterham or Marussia to return for the start of the 2015 season.

However, entries for next year must be submitted by November 1st, giving both operations precious little time to find the required investment.

Marussia’s demise also puts the career of American racer Alexander Rossi at risk. The Californian had been working as the team’s reserve driver, but this absence from Austin may have denied him a possible F1 debut for a third time.

As Formula 1’s cost crisis begins to bite, the sport will only be poorer for the absence of both Caterham and Marussia in Austin.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?