Formula 1

Marussia in last ditch takeover talks as auction is postponed

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Marussia are in last ditch talks to save the team as an auction planned for later this week has been postponed.

The back-of-the-grid team missed the final three races of last season after entering administration, however, with an entry still made for 2015, under the team's parent company name of Manor Grand Prix, it seems there could be a final glimmer of hope F1 will have 20 cars on the grid this year.

Earlier in the month many of Marussia's assets went under the hammer as the administrators looked to recoup some of the £60m debt the team had accumulated. However, the team's 2014 cars and equipment have yet to be sold in case of a last gasp buyer.

Final chance

This week's auction was indeed for those assets with team boss Graeme Lowdon warning if it went ahead that would signal the end of Marussia's hopes.

But with the news of its postponement, many will be hopeful of a rebirth of the team that endured such a difficult final few weeks of racing last year following the horrific crash for Jules Bianchi in Suzuka leaving him still unconscious though slowly improving in a hospital in his native France.

2014 prize money could be key

If the buyer can be found then the team would also be entitled to the prize money for finishing ninth in last year's Constructors' championship thanks to Bianchi's incredible ninth place finish in Monaco earning the only points scored by any of the three teams to enter F1 in 2010.

That in itself would clear a large part of the debts the team owes and given the FIA gave special dispensation for Caterham to run their 2014 car this year it would be common sense to assume that would also apply to Marussia.

Not giving up

Lowdon has never given up on trying to get the team back on the grid in 2015 and, talking to Sky Sports, continued to remain optimistic for the team's future.

"Technically it’s possible," he said. "Manor have been in motor racing for a long time. It’s a very precious team and means a lot to a lot of people and a lot of fans as well. We’re working very, very hard – it’ not easy – it’s still certainly possible for the team to get there and I think it would be good news for Formula One and it would be good for our fans.

"It’s a very precious and special thing when you are involved in the team so it’s not something you want to let go very easily."

Indeed if the Marussia team can be saved then it would take the grid up to the 20-car figure most believe F1 should have as a minimum, Caterham's future appears bleak despite making the final race in Abu Dhabi via a crowd-funding scheme.

Any last-minute deal for either outfit would still see them fail to make the first pre-season test in Jerez at the start of February with the final two in Barcelona later in the month also an ambitious goal.

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