Wednesday, October 29, 2014

News: Marussia F1 off the grid

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The Marussia F1 Team, which shocked the motorsport world when it gained entry into the 2010 F1 season from its base at Dinnington in Rotherham, has called in the administrators.

Geoff Rowley and Geoff Carton-Kelly, partners of FRP Advisory LLP, have been appointed joint administrators to Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, trading as the Marussia F1 Team, who have been unable to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future.

Manor Grand Prix secured financial backing from LDC and became Virgin Racing when they announced a link up with Richard Branson in December 2009. Russian company, Marussia Motors acquired a significant shareholding in 2010 and the team became Marussia Virgin Racing. For the 2012 season, the team became Marussia F1 and operations moved from Rotherham to Banbury in Oxfordshire to be closer to McLaren, their technical partners for the 2012 season. Marussia Motors closed its doors in April this year.

Rotherham-born John Booth, a former butcher and single-seater champion, has remained as the team principal throughout. The team was established to compete in Formula 1 when the FIA, the sport's governing body, decided to address the current levels of spend and introduced cost-cutting measures. However, plans for a proposed budget cap set for 2015 don't look like being implemented.

Marussia also operates a driver development programme with a team in GP3, the series that follows the Formula 1 European calendar and the emphasis is on developing driver skills.

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Despite making progress, including picking up its first championship points in May after four seasons and six races, the team has been rocked by the death of former test driver, Maria de Villota, and the serious crash involving leading driver, Jules Bianchi, which left him critically ill in hospital.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator, and partner at FRP Advisory, said: "Whilst the team has made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, the highlight of which included securing two constructors championship points in the current F1 season, the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

"With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the Company into administration.

"The Company will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer term viability of the Company in its present form. No redundancies have been made following the Company's entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the Company can secure new investment in the limited time available.

"We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties."

Given the current financial circumstances of the Group, which employs 200 staff, the F1 team has pulled out of the US Grand Prix in Austin this weekend. Earlier this month, the GP3 team withdrew from the race in Sochi, Russia for commercial reasons.

Booth's Manor Motorsport is one of the most respected names in national and international motor racing. His Dinnington operation achieved great success in Formula 3 and Formula Renault and played a major role in the development of several of today's greatest motor racing talents. Former Formula 1 champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton both graduated from the John Booth school of excellence.

Marussia F1 website

Images: Marussia F1 / Facebook

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