As the start of the 2015 F1 season looms, it was announced last week that the insolvent Marussia team may be in a position to join the others on the grid, racing as Manor.
Lewis Hamilton’s victory in last year’s Formula 1 season was unfortunately overshadowed by the sad news of the financial instability of many of the lower ranking F1 teams and circuits. It was reported only last week, that the financial stability of the famous Nurburgring is so fragile, that the location of the German Grand Prix is still not confirmed.
Marussia entered administration in October 2014 shortly followed by the collapse of the Caterham F1 manufacturer. Marussia were unable to complete the last 3 races of the season following their entry into administration.
Marussia collapsed under pressure of debt levels of circa £31 million, despite outscoring both the Sauber and Caterham teams in the 2014 season, a factor demonstrating how the level of spending for modern F1 racing has spiralled out of control.
Providing team Manor can make it to the grid in 2015, they are due to receive a prize fund of £26 million, for the point scored during the 2014 season. Therefore, Marussia are due to exit administration by various property assets being offered up for an auction sale, combined with a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The CVA proposal is rumoured to be seeking a very substantial investor write off.
Although both Caterham and Manor are listed to race in March, their driver line ups are still unannounced, and it is likely they will need to use their 2014 car.
As the new season unfolds, it will be interesting to see if the restructure of Marussia and Caterham brings success. As in season testing has been outlawed and costs hacked across the F1 franchise in order to try and place all teams on an even foothold, the survival of these teams still hangs in the balance.
With only 11 teams now racing in F1 with 4 engine providers, the F1 franchise is desperate to retain as wide a field as possible to bring variety and to encourage global participation. With the dominance of Mercedes last year, the financial future of the lower scoring Ferrari engine teams over this season will be one to watch.