Marussia should apply to join 2015 F1 grid properly - Force India

Force India says it would be willing to reconsider Marussia's bid to use a 2014 Formula 1 car this year if a resubmitted application was done properly

Marussia should apply to join 2015 F1 grid properly - Force India

During a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group in Paris on Thursday, teams voted on whether to support a rule change to allow Marussia to race with its 2014 car.

Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley cast the first vote, and rejected it because he did not believe the project was based on solid foundations.

Force India defends blocking Marussia

The fact that the application came in a single-page letter, with no details on team ownership, funding or the support of the administrator, left Fernley believing there was not enough information to justify backing it.

"We don't want to lose teams, but one of the over-riding conditions was that clearly they had to demonstrate the sustainability of their programme and who was behind it," Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"So what were the finances? When would they go to a 2015 car?

"It needed a proper presentation and proposal that could be considered.

"I don't make any excuses on this: the onus is on the team applying to persuade the other teams."

When asked if Force India would be open to changing its mind if a proper submission was made, Fernley said: "You would have to be. This process has been closed down, but like everything else in life: if you get turned down once you go back again and do it properly."

Fernley has underlined that Force India did not object to the principle of Marussia returning, only the manner in which the application was made.

FAN BACKLASH

Fernley is well aware that Force India's rejection of the Marussia application has caused a furious fan backlash, with the team being accused of putting its own interests over those of the sport and focusing on getting a share of the extra commercial rights income that would come from Marussia's absence.

Though Fernley does not deny that there was some financial motivation, he says securing the future of the teams currently on the grid is just as important.

"Is there an element of financial incentive for making this decision? Of course there is - I'd be lying if I didn't say that.

"We have to focus on the survival of the independent teams that remain. It is helpful for Force India - but the bottom line is if the [Marussia] proposal had been put in place correctly in the first place, the decision could have been different.

"We haven't voted because it benefits us by £4million. That wasn't the vote. The vote was 'will you allow Marussia to run a 2014 car?'

"But where is the documentation to support that? There is a huge amount of concession to be given. It is not a small decision.

"The onus is on Marussia, not on Force India, to present its case. Unfortunately emotion takes over.

"It would be wrong of me to make decisions on emotion because I am worried about what fans may say. We are not frightened of making difficult decisions."

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Force India: Marussia 2014 Formula 1 car proposal was 'speculative'

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Force India , Marussia
Author Jonathan Noble
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