Reports: F1 teams reject Marussia’s request to use old car in 2015

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Marussia F1 Team’s bid to make a shock return to the grid for the 2015 Formula 1 season has been left in tatters after the F1 Strategy Group rejected its request to race with its 2014 car, according to reports surfacing on Thursday evening.

The team fell into administration following last October’s Russian Grand Prix, with the financial difficulties preventing it from racing at any of the last three races of the 2014 season.

However, it still managed to finish ninth in the constructors’ championship, and the administrators confirmed earlier this week that a rescue package was being put together that would allow the company to exit administration.

With most of its assets already sold and employees made redundant, no car had been built for the 2015 season, meaning that if Marussia were to race this year, it would have to use its 2014 car with small modifications to come in line with the new regulations.

The decision lay with the F1 Strategy Group which met in Paris today, but according to The Independent, its members rejected Marussia’s request.

Comprising of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Force India, the body has met great criticism over the past eighteen months, with its exclusion of the smaller parties very nearly resulting in a three-team boycott of the United States Grand Prix back in November.

With just five weeks to go until the start of the 2015 season in Australia, it seems unlikely that Marussia will be able to race on this season, marking the second collapse of a team in the last 24 hours.

Earlier today, Caterham’s administrators confirmed that its remaining assets were to be auctioned off after a buyer could not be found to save the operation for the new season.

As touched upon earlier today, by refusing to allow Marussia back onto the grid for the 2015 season, the nine remaining teams are theoretically giving themselves a bigger share in the prize money on offer in F1.

Speaking to The Independent, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that talks had collapsed with a number of teams in opposition to Marussia’s return.

“They wanted to come in with last year’s car and it didn’t get accepted,” he said. “It needed all the teams to agree and there were three or four of them that didn’t agree.

“The money that they should have got gets distributed amongst the teams that are racing. That’s a pretty good reason I suppose.”

Despite being prepared to exit administration, the costs and time constraints involved with putting together a team to race in 2015 without using the existing car mean that this appears to be the end of the road for Marussia.

After five years of racing and a breakthrough in 2014 with Jules Bianchi’s ninth place finish at Monaco, the team’s F1 adventure has come to a sad end.

With just nine teams left in F1 and concerns about the futures of three of those outfits, the cost crisis looks set to only deepen further before it could reach a resolution.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III