Formula 1

Marussia to leave administration as 2015 hopes rise

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Marussia, now running under its entry name of Manor Grand Prix, has moved another step closer to retaining their place in F1 in 2015.

On Wednesday Autosport reported administrators for the debt-laden team have confirmed the back-of-the-grid outfit will exit administration on February 19th and the potential investors have paid the entry fee to the FIA to participate in this year's world championship.

While there is little information on who the prospective investors are, with claims that even McLaren-Honda could be involved denied, in a press release, company administrators said that talks with the party or parties would ensure a long-term future for Manor.

Long-term future looks slightly more promising

"We can confirm that negotiations continue towards a longer term viable solution for the business and participation of a team in the 2015 season," it read.

"It is envisaged that, prior to the commencement of the first race of the 2015 season, investment into the business will be made upon the company exiting from administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement ('CVA'), which is planned for 19 February 2015.

"A CVA is a restructuring process agreed with the company's creditors which allows for a turnaround of the business and the creation of a longer term viable solution for the team."

Bolstering a weakened grid

The news came as eight of the nine teams expected to participate concluded the first pre-season test of the year in Jerez with Force India, who's own future is current subject to increasing speculation, the only absent from the Spanish circuit.

Should a deal be done to save Manor, and the team be on the grid in Australia, then it would take the 2015 field back up to the 10-team, 20-car figure that most see as the minimum for F1.

Only the first step

However, even if the team does find itself in a position to make the trip to Melbourne, there is still several areas that need to be addressed.

Today teams and F1 bosses will gather for a meeting of the Strategy Group and, given the news, the topic of whether to give Manor dispensation to run their 2014 cars this year will now be discussed.

There have been suggestions that such permission would be granted as it would be to the benefit of F1, however, there may also be some dissenting voices from the smaller teams who could benefit from Manor not returning to the grid.

Also, the team would have to relocate as it was confirmed a few weeks ago that Gene Haas, himself entering F1 with a new team in 2016, has bought the Banbury factory the team had been using, but reports suggest Manor could return to the Dinnington base they used when they were Virgin Racing back in 2010.

A final hurdle will be drivers, though with the new super-licence rules coming into effect next year it will make the search for what will likely be so-called 'pay drivers' a little easier.

Bianchi's achievement vindicated

Former driver Max Chilton will likely be in one seat, but whoever takes the second seat will certainly have plenty to live up to replacing the still seriously injured Jules Bianchi. 

But the thought that the prize money earned by Bianchi's ninth place finish in Monaco last year, a result that eventually secured ninth in the Constructors' championship, may have helped save Manor from disappearing altogether is one that the Frenchman will always be remembered for regardless of what happens in the future.

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