29 December 2014
F1: Marussia fall-out hits sport's big guns
Ferrari and McLaren remain significant creditors following the collapse of F1 minnow Marussia, according to official figures.
While it appears that F1's biggest teams remain unconcerned about the plight of rivals at the other end of the grid, two are poised to feel the effect of Marussia's closure at the end of the 2014 season.
Marussia and tail-end companion Caterham both ran into financial difficulties before the final throes of the season, with the former missing the races in the USA, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and Caterham only making the finale thanks to the support of a crowd-funding scheme. Both appear on the provisional entry for 2015, but Marussia's late bid to make it to Yas Marina was followed by the auctioning off of its assets, and the news that 2016 newcomer Haas is to use its Banbury facility as a European base for its US-headquartered assault.
Marussia's demise affects not only team principal John Booth and his 200+ staff, however, but will have wider-reaching impact on suppliers, including both Ferrari and McLaren, who face the loss of millions of dollars as a result of unpaid bills and cancellation of ongoing contracts.
According to the UK's Sunday Telegraph, the Scuderia is owed close to $25m for engines, while McLaren faces a loss of $11m via a technical partnership which Marussia had hoped would bring it closer to the F1 midfield. Figures provided by administrators FRP Advisory suggested that more than 200 other creditors would be affected by the team's collapse, while Lloyds Development Capital would be hit to the tune of $20m, secured on all of Marussia's assets. While LDC would receive priority treatment if and when repayment occurred, FRP's Geoff Rowley claimed that it was unlikely to receive more than a tenth of what it was owed.
"The secured creditors will suffer a significant shortfall," Rowley confirmed, "[There is] insufficient property to enable a distribution to be made to unsecured creditors."
F1's power players continue to debate ways of preserving the future of the sport's minnows, but appear unwilling to bend sufficiently to secure their involvement. Other teams, notably Sauber and Lotus, remain in financial difficulty, with the latter now listed as 'subject to confirmation' on the updated entry list issued by the FIA shortly before Christmas. Both teams have signed drivers for 2015, with Sauber replacing both its 2014 pilots – including the supposedly well-backed Esteban Gutierrez – with the pairing of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, both of whom unashamedly bring sponsorship dollars.
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