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.

Previous F1 competition doesn’t guarantee IndyCar success at COTA

Manor F1 Photo
Manor F1 Photo
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AUSTIN, Texas – Familiarity does not breed success, according to three NTT IndyCar Series drivers who have previous experience at Circuit of the Americas in the Formula One United States Grand Prix. Several other drivers, including IndyCar Series rookie Patricio O’Ward, competed in the LMPC IMSA race in 2017.

Although the course is the same – 20-turns and 3.41-miles – the cars are completely different. The highly-advanced, technologically-driven Formula One cars are advanced beyond the realm of anything allowed in the NTT IndyCar Series. It’s more about the driver in IndyCar, which uses an impressive, but simpler formula to help showcase driver skill more than technology in its races.

Money buys speed in Formula One, but an IndyCar team doesn’t need a $400 million budget to go racing. It can get by on $5 millions to $10 million a year and contend for plenty of race victories and championships.

Andretti Autosport star Alexander Rossi drove in five Formula One races with Manor in 2015. The above photo is from his only F1 contest at COTA that season. He was the first driver ever to turn laps at COTA shortly after it was constructed in 2012.

Rossi had his best F1 finish in the 2015 United States Grand Prix when he started 17thand finished 12th.

“When I’ve come here in the past, I came into the weekend fully knowing that there was no chance to ever really do anything from a results perspective,” Rossi said. “To could come here to a track that I’ve spent a lot of time at, not necessarily driven a whole lot, but spent a huge amount of time at. To come into this weekend’s race, competing on a level where we have as good a shot as any, to win the race would be pretty cool.

“There’s kind of an almost unfinished business box that we’d like to tick here in some way. I’m very excited to get the weekend started.”

Chilton raced the entire F1 season in 2013 and 2014 with Marussia. He started 21stand finished 21stin 2013. He started in the first 16 races during the 2014 F1 season but was out of a ride by the time F1 arrived at COTA that season.

Me and Alex probably had pretty similar experiences,” Chilton told NBC Sports.com “Obviously the more laps are better — but the car we were in, we weren’t doing much racing, so the sort of racing experience part isn’t going to help.

“It’s good to be back. I first came here in 2013 for the (United States) Grand Prix. I loved the track. I love the city. I really enjoyed the whole facility, the race track. It’s a pretty long track in an Indy car but it’s got lots of overtaking potential for us and hopefully we’ll put on a great show.

“It’s great to have an English band like Muse on Saturday night, as well.”

Marcus Ericsson of Sweden has the most experience at COTA of any driver in the field for Sunday’s INDYCAR Classic. He competed in 97 F1 contests from 2014-2018 before becoming an IndyCar rookie with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this season.

Ericsson was 15thin 2015, 14thin 2016, 15thin 2017 and 10thin last year’s USGP.

“I’ve been here quite a few times,” Ericsson said. “It’s one of the best tracks on F1 and I think it’s great we are going here with INDYCAR. It’s going to be a great weekend.

“The racing should be very good. It’s already good on F1 on this track and from what I’ve done in INDYCAR, it’s going to be a really good show from everyone and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ericsson emphasized that the his F1 experience does not necessarily give him any type of advantage in an IndyCar.

“I think for me I was here a couple months ago in F1 doing the race in ’18. I had all my reference points and then I did the first run and realized that didn’t really work,” Ericsson explained to NBC Sports.com “So I don’t know that the experience — it’s good to know the track, but then the Indy cars are very different cars to the F1 (car) so you have to sort of drive it quite differently and in the end, I think it didn’t really help the maximum amount in my opinion.

“The problem is we had two days of testing already in IndyCar. If we had come here straightaway without any testing it would be an advantage of one hundredth approximate. But now, if you don’t get the track in two days, I don’t think you would be in IndyCar.

“I don’t think it’s a big advantage now going into the weekend.”

But every little bit helps and if all of those little “bits” of information are added up, previous experience can provide a benefit in the race.

“For sure there’s things I can bring from my experience there that helps in INDYCAR, but the Indy car to drive today is different than the Formula One cars with the power steering and everything,” Ericsson continued. “I think it’s two different cars and what I found here on the test; things that worked in the F1 car didn’t really work in the Indy car. I think both cars of very difficult to be fast in but in different ways.

“For sure my experience in F1, it’s helped me to get into INDYCAR.”

James Hinchcliffe, who has never driven in Formula One, or at COTA, believes he has the best experience of any driver in Austin this weekend.

“I know where the restaurants are, so that’s cool,” Hinchcliffe said.