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.

Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports