Force India F1 team still frustrated over how Manor handled return

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has wished Manor well on its return to the Formula 1 grid but remains frustrated with the way the team went about it

Force India F1 team still frustrated over how Manor handled return

Manor/Marussia's initial pitch to run its 2014 car this season fell through when Force India voted against it during F1's Strategy Group meeting in Paris last month.

That prompted claims Force India wanted a share of Marussia's commercial rights income, estimated at around £30million, which would be split between the remaining teams if the revived Manor outfit did not make the grid.

But Fernley told AUTOSPORT that it was safety concerns and the quality of the plan presented by Manor, not the incentive of extra money, that shaped Force India's decision.

"We wish success to them," said Fernley. "The money is irrelevant. Even if that money was distributed, it would be a minor sticky plaster on the problems. And it had nothing to do with the way we voted.

"The first thing is Manor was essentially asking the teams to make a concession of safety.

"The regulations changes between 2014 and 2015 are entirely safety based, so what you're saying is, 'I would like to bring my car in which is technically unsafe, will you make a concession for me?'

"The second thing is the teams are saying we are supportive but we need a credible presentation that says who is behind the team and what is the sustainability of it.

"And how long does it want the concession? Is it two races, four or six? It can't be a whole season because we would all run 2014 cars in that case.

"Not a single piece of information was forthcoming. That's why it was turned down."

Fernley described the questions over Manor's original proposal as "a serious issue". It ultimately modified its 2014 car to meet '15 criteria as an interim measure before an all-new design arrives.

"We have to respect the process and governance of Formula 1 because it is there to protect us all," Fernley said.

"Safety cannot be compromised and if it is going to be compromised, there has to be a damned good reason for doing it."

Manor revealed last week that Ovo Energy founder Stephen Fitzpatrick was the main investor behind its return, and that ex-Sainsbury's chief Justin King would act as interim chairman alongside sporting director Graeme Lowdon.

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