Williams would have voted to allow Marussia to run old car in 2015 season
Claire Williams warns it's "critical" F1 acts on cost problems
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 11/02/15 4:24pm
Williams say they would have been happy for Marussia to use a 2014 car to return to the grid in the new season.
The Grove outfit are one of six teams who sit on F1's Strategy Group but the body last week rejected Marussia’s bid to run a year-old car in 2015. With unanimity required for the motion to pass, the vote did not get beyond Force India who rejected it on the grounds that Marussia's bid was "lacking substance".
Marussia, however, have since challenged Force India’s version of events - claiming they were never asked to make an application to last week's meeting and had already been told in January they could run a modified 2014 challenger by the Strategy Group - and still plan to come out of administration on February 19.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Williams' Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said they would have voted for Marussia’s plan as they are keen to see F1 retain its full complement of cars.
“We’ve been very clear on our position around Marussia and their entry: we want a full competitive line-up on the grid next year and we will do anything to support Marussia coming back in,” she said.
“We made it very clear in the Strategy Group that we would vote for them to be able to use the 2014 chassis this season. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened, but Williams want a competitive line-up on the grid and we want to help the smaller teams.
“And I think we’ve demonstrated that and are always pushing cost control in Formula 1. That’s to save the smaller teams that are really struggling, the likes of Marussia and Caterham, but also the middle teams as well at the moment that are facing some serious issues.”
Having dominated F1 for much of the 1990s, Williams endured a number of lean years over the last decade before re-establishing themselves as regular podium finishers last season after a widespread overhaul at the team.
Despite their return to success, Williams insists it is not easy to make ends meet in F1 and therefore it is imperative that the sport imminently agrees some wide-reaching cost control regulations.
“It’s hard work. We are what I call a middle team, not a small team. We go racing based on the sponsorship budget that we can generate, coupled with the prize money that we get,” she explained.
“But it’s a hard fight. We’ve got to generate £60m a year in sponsorship to keep our team racing. To be competitive in F1, I don’t believe that you need to spend £200m a year, you’ve got to work harder and smarter than anyone else if you’ve got a smaller budget – but it’s so hard to generate that income.
“That’s why it’s important the cost control issues we’re trying to discuss at the moment are pushed through. It’s critical for the sustainability of our sport.”
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary from all four days of both Barcelona tests. Sky Sports News HQ will also have live updates from trackside.