Force India F1 team appeals to Bernie Ecclestone for financial help

Force India is in discussions with Bernie Ecclestone over financial support, but deputy team principal Bob Fernley insists it will compete in Formula 1's season-opening Australian Grand Prix

Force India F1 team appeals to Bernie Ecclestone for financial help

F1 has been embroiled in a debate over costs for months, with Force India, Sauber and Lotus leading a push for more assistance for small teams following Caterham and Marussia going into administration last year.

There had been speculation over Force India's participation in the 2015 season after it suffered a number of delays with the build of its new car, which only ran for the first time on Friday - two and a half days before the end of winter testing.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley told AUTOSPORT that the delay was because of a combination of factors that included having to pay suppliers earlier than expected, which impacted on cashflow.

He confirmed that his team has also appealed to Ecclestone for assistance, when asked if Force India had requested any advance Formula One Management payments.

"We have not had any help to date, but hopefully we will get some help," he said. "We are in discussions on it.

"Bernie has been extremely understanding. He's a racer. He understands from his days how difficult it is. I think he realises this is serious."

DIETER RENCKEN: Why struggling teams want 'core car' plan

When asked if the team would be in Australia, Fernley said: "It's going to be very tough, but as always we will get through.

"At this point, we are working through the build of the second car. Everything is getting there but it is not going to be easy, it hasn't been easy all the way through the winter.

"We have made it clear to the commercial rights holder that we have problems, as have Lotus and Sauber. It's not isolated to one team."

There have also been suggestions that Lotus and Sauber may not compete in the season opener owing to financial difficulties.

A Sauber spokesperson told AUTOSPORT: "We are doing our best - we will be there [in Australia]."

Lotus declined to comment on its financial situation but implied that it would be in Melbourne.

MARUSSIA/CATERHAM WOES HURT FORCE INDIA

Fernley added that some F1 suppliers had been put under pressure when Marussia and Caterham went into administration last year, which meant other teams had to make payments earlier.

"You can't underestimate what the administration of Caterham and Marussia did to suppliers," he said. "It was huge - and still is.

"Those poor guys have had a tough old time. They're incredible and have supported us through all these years.

"And we have had to support them this year, but in doing so that's hurt our programme."

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