Marussia: Former Team Bosses Plan To Start F1 2015 Season
Bosses of the former Marussia F1 team are pressing ahead with plans to race from the start of the 2015 season.The team, now again going by their original name of Manor, insist they have approval to start the season with a modified version of their 2014 car.
This plan appeared to have been derailed after Force India vetoed the proposal at a meeting of leading teams.
But Manor insist they are proceeding with steps previously laid out by Formula 1’s bosses.
Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley voted against Marussia using a 2014 car at a meeting of the rule-making strategy group on Thursday, saying that the proposal presented was “totally out of order” in its lack of detail.
Manor Grand Prix first entered F1 in 2010 but were renamed Virgin Racing when Virgin bought a shareholding. They were then renamed Marussia from the 2012 season.
But Graeme Lowdon – the former president of Marussia, who has sourced the money for Manor to continue in F1 – said that they had not made a presentation to the strategy group because they had not been asked to.
A Manor statement said they had received a letter from the strategy group – which compromises commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, governing body the FIA and the six leading teams – on 5 January saying they would be allowed to start the 2015 season with their 2014 car, subject to small modifications.
He says they were given a temporary permission not to have to satisfy certain clauses in the technical regulations that have been changed this year on safety grounds.
These focus on the lowering of the front bulkhead – the front of the chassis – by 50mm and a new nose design.
Lowdon admitted that Manor needed unanimous approval from all the teams to be allowed to race under these circumstances and said they were working to achieve this.
Manor still plan to complete this process in time to allow them to take part in the first race of the season in Melbourne on 15 March.
They would then race with the modified 2014 car for a part of the season before switching to their definitive 2015 car, which is already in production.
Lowdon said: “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.”
Fernley has denied that his decision to veto Manor’s plan was made for financial reasons.
If Manor do not race in 2015, the prize money Marussia earned last year would be divided between the remaining nine teams, who would receive about £4m each.