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.