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Force India explains Marussia rejection

ESPN Staff
February 6, 2015 « Ferrari has rediscovered team spirit - Arrivabene | Defiant Marussia still targeting return in 2015 »
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Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley said Marussia did not provide the necessary documentation and evidence to convince the F1 Strategy Group to facilitate its return to the grid this year.

Marussia is coming out of administration with the aim of taking part in the 2015 season, but its return took a blow on Thursday when its rivals voted against it being allowed to run a 2014 car at the start of the season. It needed to get unanimous agreement from all its rivals, but faltered at the first hurdle when the proposal was put in front of the F1 Strategy Group

The F1 Stategy Group is made up of representatives from the FIA, the F1 Group, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Force India - the latter on the basis of its results last year - and sets the agenda for decisions in the sport. When the subject was raised at Thursday's meeting, Force India was the first to vote and immediately voted against allowing Marussia to run a 2014 car, meaning the proposal was rejected.

"Marussia have an obligation to put in a proposal to the F1 Commission and F1 Strategy Groups to be able to demonstrate that they can deliver a programme for 2015," Fernley told Sky Sports. "They're asking for dispensation in terms of running a 2014 car prior to switching over a 2015 car and in that should be all the details of what is going on.

"The reality is that absolutely no documentation was provided whatsoever. Even the process that was used in terms of the letter that was sent in was not compliant. It should be sent by the administrators and it was sent by one of the former directors of Marussia.

"So, while it's a very emotional subject, it also has to go through compliance and due diligence and it couldn't go through either of those. It just happened to be that Force India was the first team to vote and once one team has voted against, it's no longer viable."

Bernie Ecclestone suggested the reason the teams voted against it was because the prize money due to Marussia would then be spread among its rivals. However, while Fernley admitted some teams are struggling financially, he said the only consideration in the vote was whether Marussia was in a position to return successfully.

"It's tough. It would be wrong for me to say we're all having a wonderful time - we're having a tough time and costs are rising. The income distribution is very well documented and none of that is being addressed.

"But we have to separate all the issues out and deal with each thing clinically. The Marussia issue was a separate one and I can understand that on the face of it it looks very harsh, but the reality is the onus is on Marussia to be able to deliver.

"If it had been us, and it was our last chance saloon, we would have had all the bells and whistles out for a presentation. But we don't even know who the owners were going to be."

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