Marussia/Manor GP CEO Graeme Lowdon has responded to suggestions from Force India’s Bob Fernley to the effect that the team did not provide any “substance” when asking to run its 2014 car this year – and has emphasised that the team is not giving up its hopes of being on the grid.
He said work is continuing on a 2015 car, and that confidentiality was the reason why no details of any new investors or owners had been revealed. He also denied that the team had been asked to provide a more detailed application to the Strategy Group.
It was announced a few days ago that the company would come out of administration on February 19, via a process known as a CVA.
“It has been a very good step to finally get the CVA process underway this week,” said Lowdon in a statement that was headlined ‘Manor F1 Team.’. “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.”
Meanwhile the statement added some details of how things have unfolded in recent weeks, and what the team believes will happen next. However, it made no mention of power unit/gearbox supplier Ferrari:
– 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.