Bob Fernley Q&A: Why Marussia's 2014 car bid failed to pass the F1 Strategy Group
Force India's deputy team principal explains why his team rejected Marussia's proposal and F1's ongoing cost crisis
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 06/02/15 1:38pm
Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley talks to Sky Sports News HQ about rejecting Marussia's plan to run a 2014 car in the 2015 season and why F1's distribution model remains a problem.
Did Force India vote against Marussia running their 2014 car in the new season - and if so, why?
Bob Fernley: "The answer is yes we did, and the reason is quite simple. 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. 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."
How critical is the funding issue for teams such as yours at the moment?
BF: "It's very critical. We've not made any secret of the issues involved in Formula 1, but that had nothing to do with the decision on Marussia.
"Force India is very supportive of the smaller teams and a leader in trying to maintain them all, so there's a lot of empathy and a lot of sympathy for Marussia, but the onus is on them to be able to demonstrate what they can do. So we have to make those decisions independently.
"Have we got some of our own issues? Yes we have, but we'll deal with those."
Will we see other teams struggle this year?
BF: "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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