Marussia F1 Team closes its doors, staff made redundant

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Marussia F1 Team has formally ceased trading and all 200 remaining staff have been made redundant, administrators have confirmed.

The Anglo-Russian team confirmed ahead of the United States Grand Prix that it had entered administration due to ongoing financial difficulties, and was looking for a new buyer to ensure that it could return to the grid for the final round of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Despite missing the races in Austin and Sao Paulo, the team still held hope of racing in Abu Dhabi as a number of possible buyers were mooted.

Earlier this week, Manor F1 Team – the holding company behind Marussia – appeared on the FIA’s entry list for the 2015 season, suggesting that there may have been a saving grace for the team and a real chance of making the grid in Australia next year.

However, the administrators in charge at Banbury today confirmed that the team had shut its doors.

“It goes without saying that it is deeply regrettable that a business with such a great following in British and world motorsport has had to cease trading and close its doors,” a statement from administrator FRP Advisory read.

“Whilst the team made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

“The group was put into administration last month following a shortfall in on-going funding and the administration process provided a moratorium to allow for attempts to secure a long term viable solution for the company within in a very limited timeframe.

“Sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form. We would like to thank all the staff for their support during this difficult process.

“The team will not be participating in the two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi.

“The joint administrators will continue with their statutory duties to realise the assets of the business in the best interests of all the creditors.”

After five years of racing, it is sad to see Marussia formally close its doors after a season that has seen the team meet both triumph and disaster. In Monaco, Jules Bianchi scored its first ever points after finishing in ninth place, taking it above both Caterham and Sauber in the constructors’ championship and putting the team on the cusp of a $40m windfall.

However, at the Japanese Grand Prix, Bianchi suffered a horrific accident that saw him receive severe head injuries. He currently remains in hospital in Japan fighting for his life.

Now, the team’s run in Formula 1 has come to an end, with some 200 staff being made redundant and left looking for a job ahead of the holiday period.

As expected, FIA denies granting Colton Herta a Super License to race in F1

Colton Herta Super License
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The governing body for Formula One on Friday said IndyCar star Colton Herta will not be granted the Super License that the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.

“The FIA confirms that an enquiry was made via the appropriate channels that led to the FIA confirming that the driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be granted an FIA Super Licence,” the FIA said in a statement.

The FIA decision was not a surprise.

Red Bull was interested in the 22-year-old Californian and considering giving Herta a seat at AlphaTauri, its junior team. AlphaTauri has already said that Pierre Gasly will return next season and Yuki Tsunoda received a contract extension earlier this week.

However, AlphaTauri has acknowledged it would release Gasly, who is apparently wanted at Alpine, but only if it had a compelling driver such as Herta to put in the car. F1 has not had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Herta did not particularly want the FIA to make an exception to the licensing system to get him a seat.

At issue is how the FIA rates IndyCar, a series it does not govern. The points it awards to IndyCar drivers rank somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior feeder series into F1.

IndyCar drivers have criticized the system in defense of Herta and the intense, close racing of their own highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has four starts in the Indianapolis 500. He qualified on the front row in 2021 and finished a career-best eighth in 2020.

Rossi, who has spent the last four seasons as Herta’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, lashed out this week because “I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth” regarding the licensing.

“The whole premise of it was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “That’s great. We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.

“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that here had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.”

Rossi added those decisions “whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a license.”

The system favors drivers who compete in FIA-sanctioned series. For example, Linus Lundqvist earned his Super License by winning the Indy Lights championship.

Lundqvist’s required points come via the 15 he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for finishing third in Lights last year and his 2020 victory in the FIA-governed Formula Regional Americas Championship, which earned him 18 points.

That gave the 23-year-old Swede a total of 43 points, three more than needed for the license.

Herta, meanwhile, ended the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still earn a Super License by picking up one point for any free practice sessions he runs this year; McLaren holds his F1 rights and could put him in a car. Herta could also potentially run in an FIA-sanctioned winter series to pick up some points.

Michael Andretti, who has petitioned the FIA to expand its grid to add two cars for him to launch a team, said he never bothered to explore potential replacements for Herta on the IndyCar team because he was confident the Super License request would be rejected.

Andretti has been met by severe resistance from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in his hope to add an 11th team. Andretti could still get on the grid by purchasing an existing team and he’d like to build his program around Herta, who is under contract in IndyCar to Andretti through 2023.