Dec.29 (GMM) There are fears a third team could follow Caterham and Marussia out of F1 as the new year beckons.
Caterham, although still in administration, is hoping to race in 2015 but Marussia’s assets and factory are being sold to pay back creditors.
F1 business journalist Christian Sylt wrote in the Telegraph that the team’s engine and technology suppliers Ferrari and McLaren, for example, are owed $25 and $11 million respectively.
Sylt said administrator Geoff Rowley acknowledged that Marussia is unlikely to race in 2015.
Now there are fears a third team could collapse, potentially reducing the 2015 grid to just 16 cars. Last year, 11 teams began the championship, filling a 22-car grid.
But the sport’s rising costs are beginning to bite, and at the latest meeting of the Strategy Group, little was achieved in terms of any relief.
“Forget the festive spirit,” a source told Times correspondent Kevin Eason. “We have people drinking in the last-chance saloon this Christmas and no one seems able or willing to do anything about it.”
On the latest 2015 entry list, Lotus has been listed with a conditional asterisk alongside its name.
Bob Fernley, deputy boss at Force India, said he was warning a year ago that modest-budget backmarkers like Caterham and Marussia were at risk of collapse.
“(Now) we are talking about teams with budgets of $155 million plus and employing 350 people or more.
“We are about to start a new year with the same warning, but no one seems to grasp what is going on and how urgent things have become. They are like sailors rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic while the ship sinks,” he added.