After the F1 Strategy Group rejected Marussia’s plan to use its 2014 car to race in Formula 1 this season, the team has responded by issuing a statement outlining its ongoing plans to return to the grid.
The team, set to be known as Manor Grand Prix, entered administration following last year’s Russian Grand Prix, failing to take part in any of the final three races of the year.
However, it still retained ninth place in the constructors’ championship and the subsequent prize money, making the company an attractive investment for those looking to enter F1 in the future.
Last month, the team cancelled a planned auction for its remaining assets before announcing its intention to exit administration later this month.
Here is the statement in full from Manor:
“Following the initiation of the CVA process by Marussia F1 Team administrators FRP Advisory earlier this week, and the confidence this step brings to the process of saving Marussia, the team is now pleased to be able to confirm some of the detail of this process.
“On 17 December 2014, the team made a request to the Strategy Group to consider allowing it to use a 2014 race car, modified to meet certain 2015 regulations, for part of the 2015 season. Following analysis, the team highlighted that this would need some form of dispensation on only a small number of clauses in the Regulations.
“Subsequent to this application, the team was informed on 5 January 2015, that the Strategy Group felt that two teams – Marussia and Caterham – should be permitted to race a 2014 car in the 2015 championship. The letter stated that the Strategy Group agreed that the car should comply with all of the 2015 technical regulations, with the exception of four articles, those articles being Articles 3.7.9, 15.4.3, 15.4.4 and 16.2. The team can confirm that the modifications to its 2014 car would meet this stipulation.
“A change to the Regulations at this stage does require unanimous consent from all teams and following the initiation of the CVA process, the team is now actively engaged in achieving this. This process involves providing all relevant information to the teams to allow them to fully consider its request.
“As the press release from FRP Advisory of 4 February states, given the confidential nature of the negotiations underway, neither they nor the team are able to provide further details regarding the team’s new investors, however those investors have either met with or spoken to the key F1 bodies.
“The team has been busy preparing its 2014 cars such that they comply with the stipulations of the Strategy Group and at the same time it is pressing on with the development of its 2015 car to ensure it can supersede the 2014 car as soon as possible.
“The team has a significant number of staff already working on both its 2014 and 2015 cars. It also has the benefit of being able to recruit further staff very quickly from the rich pool of experienced and talented F1 personnel who were left unemployed following the closure of Marussia and Caterham and due to job cuts made by other teams in the sport.”
Former Marussia president Graeme Lowdon made his optimism about the Marussia project clear, hitting back at comments by Force India’s Bob Fernley about the team’s application to return to the grid.
“It has been a very good step to finally get the CVA process underway this week,” Lowdon said. “This is the first external sign that we have been able to make of all the hard work that has taken place privately over the past four months to get us to our current position.
“I was surprised to hear some of the comments made today, particularly regarding an application we were said to have made to yesterday’s meeting, which I can confirm was not the case.
“We did make a request on 17 December last year and we have been working since to satisfy the requirements subsequently communicated to us, specifically complying with all the Regulations, aside from the exempted articles.
“The comments also mentioned that issues of compliance were raised, that it was felt that our application lacked substance and contained no supporting documentation to reinforce the case for offering special dispensation. Again, we did not make any application to yesterday’s Strategy Group meeting and nor were we asked to.
“Instead, we are proceeding with our clear process regarding compliance and building our operation. We are doing everything possible to adhere to the process set out for us to return to the 2015 grid. This is a fantastic good news story for the whole sport and we just want to go racing.”
So despite the best efforts of the Strategy Group, it appears that the bid for Marussia to race in 2015 continues to live on. The team is clearly working hard to get a car ready to return to racing, and, with dispensation from the commercial rights holder, would be allowed to miss the first three races of the year.
As Lowdon suggests, the closure of Caterham F1 Team means that there is no shortage of possible staff. Relying the investment is in place for Marussia to live on, it could yet make a late return to F1 and keep the grid at ten teams.
This is indeed “a fantastic good news story” as Lowdon says, relying that Manor Grand Prix can reach the grid. There is still a mountain to climb, but the team quite clearly retains the grit and determination upon which it was founded.
The team has also launched a new website, which you can check out here.