The Marussia Formula One team, which folded towards the end of last season, is reportedly close to securing new investment that would allow it to return to the motor-racing championship for the 2015 campaign.
Marussia first went into administration in October before eventually being forced out of business the following month after failing to secure a new owner. As a result, Marussia was absent from the final three grands prix of 2014 while more than 200 jobs were lost at the UK-based team’s Banbury headquarters.
However, the team has now been handed a lifeline after Marussia boss John Booth told UK public-service broadcaster the BBC that he was hopeful of putting together a rescue deal in time for the new season. Booth said the team is “at a fairly advanced stage with a new investor – a credible investor.”
A planned auction of the team’s 2014 cars, which would be required if it were to compete at the opening race in Australia on March 15, has been called off indefinitely in order to Marussia to finalise its plans. The auction had been due to take place on January 21. Booth added: “Postponing the auction gives is a bit more time to explore it.
Despite Booth having said that his confidence over securing a rescue deal is “very high”, he did concede that the agreement is “very complicated” and that “time is of the essence”. He also said that a deal would have to be done “in the next couple of weeks” if the team is to take part in the opening round of the 2015 season in Melbourne.
Marussia collapsed with £31m (€39m/$48.4m) while its biggest creditor, engine supplier Ferrari, was owned approximately £16.6m.
The team does not have time to construct a car for the 2015 season and would require special dispensation from the International Motorsport Federation (FIA) global governing body in order to use last season’s car. The older model would technically be illegal due to new rules concerning nose designs.
The F1 rule-making strategy group last November agreed that both Marussia and Caterham, which is also struggling financially, could use the 2014 cars in the new season. However, such arrangements would require a fax vote of the FIA World Council, the sports legislative body.