The embattled Marussia team is closing in on a return to the Formula One grid with the outfit reportedly having paid its 2015 entry fee.
JAonF1 understands that the third party rescue discussions that brought a halt to a planned auction of team assets last months have reach the stage where the team has received the funding required to lodge its entry for the season and to come out of administration later this month.
There are suggestions from Sky News’ Mark Kleinman that Justin King, the former CEO of Sainsburys supermarkets in the UK is involved in the consortium. His son Jordan is working his way up the racing ladder and will be in GP2 this season.
King is close friends with McLaren boss Ron Dennis, which has also raised speculation that McLaren is somehow involved in this rescue plan. But a McLaren spokesman confirmed that there is no truth in the team’s involvement.
Honda is “open minded” about running a B team, possibly from next season onwards, but is not pressing for them. With a challenging new package to bed in for this season, the shared objective with of both Honda and Mclaren is to make the 2015 car work and perform. So any further development involving second teams is at best on a back burner.
Marussia has business links with McLaren from use of the wind tunnel, simulator and strategy tools. But if McLaren and Honda were to support a B team, its not clear that Marussia or Manor would be the team they would opt to go with.
The Marussia/Manor rescue will feature on the agenda at tomorrow’s F1 Strategy Group meeting, with Force India believed to be keen to argue against the team being readmitted, as the team’s $50 million prize money would be redistributed among the other teams if it were not to race in 2015. However the F1 Strategy Group goes with a majority vote and it would be interesting to see what the FIA would do with its 33.3% vote and the other teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. Red Bull boss Christian Horner indicated that the big teams supported the idea of a tenth team, but might some attitudes change now that they know King is involved?
News of the emergence from administration comes from Marussia’s administrators FRP Advisory, which issued a statement explaining that the team will later this month enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement, which effectively allows it to trade while insolvent and schedule payments to debtors over a period of time.
“Since the appointment of administrators, negotiations have taken place with a number of parties to try and secure a long term solution for the team,” the FRP statement read.
“We can confirm that negotiations continue towards a longer term viable solution for the business and participation of a team in the 2015 season.
“It is envisaged that, prior to the commencement of the first race of the 2015 season, investment into the business will be made upon the company exiting from administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement (‘CVA’), which is planned for 19 February 2015.
“A CVA is a restructuring process agreed with the company’s creditors which allows for a turnaround of the business and the creation of a longer term viable solution for the team.”
With the team’s prospects looking positive there still remains the thorny issue of just what cars it will race in 2015 and what power units it will use.
The first of those hurdles could be overcome on Thursday when the F1 Strategy Group will discuss allowing the team to run 2014 cars. According to insiders that outcome is being viewed favourably, with one insider saying that “anything that gets more cars on the grid is a good thing”.