Formula 1

Manor F1 Team to line up in Melbourne

Manor F1 Team

The Manor F1 Team will pick up the pieces from Marussia and line up at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend. The team will run a modified MR03 chassis, upgraded to 2015 spec, with a Ferrari power unit.

Will Stevens (23) will resume his duties following his development role with Marussia in 2014. He made his competition debut with Caterham in the final race of the year at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He will be joined by F1 rookie Roberto Merhi (23) who has a deal for the “opening races” of the season. Both have achieved success in junior formulae, including Formula Renault 3.5.

Stevens will race with #28, while Merhi will use #98.

Jordan King, son of Manor F1 Team chairman Justin King, will take on the role of reserve and development driver.

[Source: Autosport]

Formula 1

FIA report: “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 2014 Japanese GP

A 396 page report into the Jules Bianchi accident at the Japanese Grand Prix has been presented to the FIA World Motorsport Council and makes several recommendations to be applied to all international circuit racing.

A summary of the report published by the FIA states: “Bianchi did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control at the same point on the track as Sutil.

“If drivers adhere to the requirements of double yellow flags, as set out in Appendix H, Art., then neither competitors nor officials should be put in immediate or physical danger.

“Bianchi over-controlled the oversteering car, such that he left the track earlier than Sutil, and headed towards a point ‘up-stream’ along the barrier. Unfortunately, the mobile crane was in front of this part of the barrier, and he struck and under-ran the rear of it at high speed.”

Seven recommendations have been made by the specially convened Accident Panel tasked with investigating the crash. Included on the 10-member panel were former team principal Ross Brawn, Stefano Domenicali and former drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Alex Wurz.

The panel’s recommendations include the adoption of yellow flag speed limits, a review of track drainage guidelines, a call for Super Licence qualification to incorporate a course on FIA safety procedures, increased testing of wet weather tyres and an overall review into the risks associated with Formula 1.

[Source: FIA | Thanks to Stu for the tip]

Formula 1

Jules Bianchi out of induced coma, remains critical

Jules Bianchi

The family of former Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who was seriously injured at the Japanese Grand Prix, has confirmed he is no longer in an artifical coma. However, he remains unconscious and his condition is still critical.

“Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious,” the family’s statement explained. “He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as ‘critical’. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.”

Bianchi has been relocated from Japan to the university hospital in Nice so that he can be closer to his family.

“Jules’ neurological condition remains stable,” his family added. “Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France.

“We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago.

“Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service.

“We are thankful that the next phase of Jules’ treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends.”

The Bianchi family thanked the hospital staff in Japan, in particular Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and Mr Ogura, saying Jules received “outstanding care” while in Yokkaichi.


Formula 1

Marussia F1 Team closes its doors

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

The Marussia F1 Team has been shut down and will not race again this year or in 2015. Administrators FRP Advisory LLP were unable to find a buyer for the team and as a result all staff have been made redundant.

“It goes without saying that it is deeply regrettable that a business with such a great following in British and world motorsport has had to cease trading and close its doors,” wrote Geoff Rowley from FRP.

“The group was put into administration last month following a shortfall in ongoing funding and the administration process provided a moratorium to allow for attempts to secure a long term viable solution for the company within in a very limited timeframe.

“Sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form. We would like to thank all the staff for their support during this difficult process.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber Team Principal, has her own financial pressures to deal with, having recently threatened to boycott the United States Grand Prix and then selling its 2015 driver lineup to the highest bidders.

Commenting on the demise of Marussia, Kaltenborn said: “We have a turnover of billions of dollars and yet we are not in a position to keep 11 teams alive.

“And that tells you it is not a good signal the sport is sending out and we are creating a bad image.

“So you have to look at how the revenues are distributed and you have to find a way to reduce the costs.”

After the US GP Donald MacKenzie, co-chairman of F1’s largest shareholder CVC Capital Partners, said he was prepared to act above Bernie Eccelstone and take measures to improve the plight of the struggling teams.

[Source: Autosport & BBC]

Caterham Formula 1

To the Manor (re)born

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

The future of the F1 teams we currently know as Marussia and Caterham are bleak, as we know. However the official entry list for the 2015 Formula 1 season shows a pathway does exist for them to carry on, but not as we know them.

Entered on the 2015 list are Manor Grand Prix Racing (née Marussia) and 1Malaysia Racing Team (née Caterham). While both teams are still looking to secure their financial futures their appearance on the official entry list should make things more appealing for prospective buyers.

Meanwhile, Caterham’s immediate future has improved with the team’s administrator saying he expects they will be competing in Abu Dhabi.

“I think I’ve got enough confidence now to say I’d be very surprised if we were not racing in Abu Dhabi,” said Finbarr O’Connell, from administrators Smith & Williamson. “I’m now really hopeful for the future of the team.”

[Source: BBC]

Caterham Formula 1

How much does it cost to run a Formula 1 team?

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

With confirmation that we’ll only have 18 cars on the grid in Austin this weekend much of the chatter around Formula 1 has been to do with the costs of running a team. People are asking: is F1 in crisis?

Every time serious discussion about putting a cap on spending is raised one of the bigger teams, usually Ferrari or Red Bull, threatens to throw its toys out of the cot in disgust. Clearly, F1 doesn’t want to lose one (or more) of its biggest drawcards and we’re left with a perennial problem; the haves keep winning, which in itself is nothing new, but the have nots keep folding.

The introduction of new regulations this year hasn’t helped matters much. In a bid to highlght the issues at the back of the grid Caterham, Force India, Marussia and Sauber have written to FIA President and former Scuderia Ferrari boss, Jean Todt, saying teams now need around $120 million per year just to stay afloat.

Sauber, usually a team able to compete well with limited funds, hasn’t scored a championship point all year and is currently coming tenth out of 11 teams in the constructors’ title race.

The cost breakdown provided to Todt and revealed by Autosport is as follows:

Windtunnel/CFD facilities$18.5 million
Chassis production/manufacturing$20 million
Hybrid power system$28 million
Gearbox and hydraulics$5 million
Electronics$1.95 million
Fuel and lubricants$1.5 million
Tyres$1.8 million
Salaries (not including drivers)$20 million
IT$3 million
HR and professional services$1.5 million
Utilities and factory maintenance$2 million
Travel and trackside facilities$12 million
Freight$5 million
TOTAL$120.25 million


As well as driver salaries, other items not included in the above list are: building leases, hospitality, marketing and media. Obviously, teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are spending a lot more than that, while Caterham and Marussia are (or were) spending a lot less.

No form of motorsport, no matter how good it should be, is any good if teams can’t afford to race.

[Source: Autosport+]

Formula 1

Marussia F1 Team goes into administration

2014 Russian Grand Prix

Perennial backmarkers Marussia have followed Caterham into the wilderness of financial administration and will definitely miss the next two F1 races in Austin and Sao Paulo.

The news comes after Bernie Ecclestone revealed that both Caterham and Marussia cars and freight would not be shipped for the United States Grand Prix this weekend and would also miss the Brazlian Grand Prix the next weekend.

“With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the (Marussia) 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,” said Geoff Rowley from administrators FRP Advisory LLP.

“Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the Company into administration.”

According to Rowley no job losses have occurred at this stage and the near 200 staff had been paid in full to the end of this month. However, Marussia longer term future appears bleak, with Rowley adding there was “a very limited window of opportunity” to secure the team’s racing future.

[Source: Reuters]

Caterham Formula 1

Caterham and Marussia to miss next two GPs

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that both Caterham and Marussia will not be at the United States Grand Prix in Austin next weekend.

News of Caterham’s absence was expected due to the teams current ownership spat. However, while it was known Marussia isn’t exactly flush with cash they were thought to be heading Stateside. Not any more.

“Neither of those two teams are going to go to America,” confirmed Ecclestone.

Freight for the teams started its journey from Europe to the United States yesterday and is coordinated by Bernie’s Formula One Management group.

Caterham will miss the Brazilian Grand Prix as well, which will be held on the weekend after Austin, while the team searches for a buyer. For freight reasons alone Marussia won’t be in Sao Paulo either.

Meanwhile, the Sherrifs Office in the UK has been flogging parts via twitter in a bid to raise money to cover debts owed.

Finbarr O’Connell, Caterham’s administrator confirmed there is interest for the team, saying he spoke to, “10 to 15 serious interested parties on the phone today and we are speaking to all those and getting information together for them to examine.”

[Source: Reuters | Thanks to Dave for the tip]

Formula 1

Marussia reacts to Bianchi crash allegations

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Apparently there have been reports in the media hinting at negligence from both Jules Bianchi and the Marussia F1 Team in the immediate moments prior to Bianchi’s life-threatening crash.

The allegations are twofold, first that Bianchi did not slow down under the double waved yellow flags where Adrian Sutil’s car was being retrieved and secondly, that Marussia was urging Bianchi to keep going fast in order to keep the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson behind him.

As you might expect Marussia is upset at these claims and reacted by issuing an official statement which it hopes will set the record straight.

“The Marussia F1 Team is shocked and angered by these allegations,” the statement reads. “It is distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of Jules’ accident. However, given that these allegations are entirely false, the team has no alternative but to address these.

“Regarding point 1, Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags. That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA.

“Regarding point 2, an audio copy of the full radio transmission between Jules and the team, and also a written transcript thereof, were provided to the FIA. It is quite clear from the transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules’ accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster or make any comments suggesting that he should do so.”

Late last week Charlie Whiting, FIA F1 race director, gave a media briefing addressing Bianchi’s accident. He covered a number of topics, including the start time of the race, the use of the Safety Car, the actions of the flag marshals and more. Crucially, he also addressed the question of Bianchi’s speed during the double waved yellows.

“I know what speed he left the track at,” Whiting said. “A lot of cars came through the double waved yellow sector, not everyone slowed down as much.

“There were some that didn’t slow down much and some slowed down a lot—and I don’t think we need to go into the detail of how much he slowed down relative to the others.

“Suffice to say, we do have that data. He did slow down and it is a matter of degree.”

You can read Marussia’s full reaction after the break.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Russian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Russian Grand Prix

The fun has come and gone from the Sochi sun and the Russian Grand Prix passed by without any idiot from the Formula 1 world threatening to “shirtfront” Putin. Which, in some ways, in just as bad as it would have been if some idiot did engage his mouth before his brain.

Anyway, enough of that, let’s just try and enjoy the images from the race. Hopefully, they’re not quite as dull as the on track action ended up.

Formula 1

Marussia to rest Bianchi’s car in Sochi

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

The Marussia F1 Team has decided to run one car only at its home grand prix in Sochi this weekend as a mark of respect to Jules Bianchi.

“We have written to the Stewards of the Meeting to inform them that we have withdrawn our second car,” reads an official team statement. “Notwithstanding the presence in Sochi of Alexander Rossi, the nominated Official Reserve Driver for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the Team feels strongly that fielding a single car, that of driver number 4, Max Chilton, is the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend.”

In a touching gesture, the team has prepared a car for Bianchi, which will remain in the garage.

“Jules’ car crew have built a second car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race, and this will remain on his side of the garage throughout the weekend. In support of Jules and his family, the Team and its cars will carry the familiar #JB17 graphic, to ensure that, although Jules is not with us in Sochi this weekend, he is, nonetheless, racing on with the Marussia F1 Team.”

Also nice to see is Max Chilton’s words, where perhaps being in a less competitive team affords intra-garage rivalries to be more friendly.

“I don’t know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules,” Chilton said. “The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules’ family at this difficult time. It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole Team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules.”

[Source: Marussa F1 Team]

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Japanese Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Japanese Grand Prix

Usually we like it when it rains at a grand prix because the images are pretty cool. But the end of this year’s Japanese Grand Prix was not very cool at all.

Forza Jules.