Marussia's administrators have confirmed that the team is to be wound up
"Sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form," administrator says; About 200 staff to be made redundant
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 25/11/14 5:53pm
Marussia's administrators confirmed on Friday that the Formula 1 team is to be wound up, with the loss of about 200 jobs.
The confirmation brings an end to hopes that the team, who were taken into administration almost two weeks ago, would make a return to the grid in time for the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi later this month.
"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," Geoff Rowley, joint administrator, and partner at FRP Advisory, said.
"Whilst the team made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment. The Group was put into administration last month following a shortfall in on-going 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 time-frame. 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.
"As joint administrators our immediate focus will be to assist staff who have lost their jobs and provide them with the necessary support to submit timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.
"The team will not be participating in the two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi. The joint administrators will continue with their statutory duties to realise the assets of the business in the best interests of all the creditors.”
Indications had pointed towards a rescue package for Marussia, formerly owned by Russian billionaire Andrei Cheglakov and who first joined the grid in 2010 as Virgin Racing.
While potential buyers in Asia, Europe and the U.S. had expressed an interest, British-Indian brothers Baljinder Sohi and Sonny Kaushal emerged as 'serious' contenders to take control, with staff asked to work without pay whilst talks took place.
The team also submitted a 2015 entry under the Manor F1 Team earlier this week. However, a Friday deadline was given for the completion of a deal and staff were informed of the decison at noon.
Although any buyer would have had to take on debt estimated at around £30 million, Marussia were due prize money at least matching that if they could hold on to ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Furthermore, reports have suggested that F1’s majority shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, have promised a £100 million ‘fighting fund’ to help small teams with their finances.
"It’s very sad," Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz said. "The administrators have been working around the clock for the last three or four weeks to find a serious investor who was able to commit to taking the team forward. There was interest from Asia and Central Europe and an approach from America, but none of these were considered to be solid enough to provide the team with enough ongoing investment to make a go of it next year.
“The sad thing for me is that speaking to [Marussia President and Sporting Director] Graeme Lowdon last week, he said the team were ready to go [to Abu Dhabi]. The freight was ready to go, the people were ready to go, the flights had been booked and paid for. It just seems they couldn’t find enough solid money to go forward."
Marussia had coveted the two points - the team's first - scored by Jules Bianchi in May's Monaco GP. According to Ted, however, "if they miss Abu Dhabi then they won’t be ninth, they will be effectively deleted from this year’s championship".
Although the problem of cash-flow for smaller teams has been apparent for some time, it took the collapse of the Caterham team and then Marussia for its effect to be felt in the harshest terms.
With both teams unable to travel to the United States GP, the issue dominated in Austin last weekend and there was even talk that three outfits – Sauber, Force India and Lotus – might boycott the event.
That didn’t happen but with no way back now for Marussia, Friday’s news will intensify focus on why some teams are finding it such a struggle to survive in one of the world’s wealthiest sports.