Marussia play down entry list concern

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2014 9:12 AM

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Marussia plan to attend the first pre-season Formula One test in Spain this month and have no concerns about their championship entry being listed as provisional, sporting director Graeme Lowdon said on Monday.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) issued an entry list on Friday with asterisks against Lotus and back-markers Marussia denoting that they were subject to confirmation.

No further information was given, and the FIA declined to provide details, although the usual reason would be because entry fees have yet to be paid.

Lowdon, whose team finished 10th of 11 last season and have the smallest budget of all, indicated the matter would be resolved shortly.

"We're just finalizing administrative details with the FIA and we have absolutely no concerns at all that the entry won't be confirmed," he told Reuters.

The basic entry fee for 2014, as laid out in the sporting regulations, is $508,000 which was supposed to have been paid by November last year.

Teams must also pay $5,080 per point scored in the 2013 constructors' championship - none in Marussia's case but an additional $1.6 million for fourth-placed Lotus who scored 315 points.

The rules say applications at other times will be considered if a place is available and on payment of a late entry fee to be fixed by the governing body. The season starts in Australia on March 16.

Lotus, who have had financial difficulties despite challenging for wins last season, have said their car will not be ready for the first test in Jerez starting on January 28 but there was no cause for concern.

"Everything is fine here," principal Eric Boullier said last week. "Lotus will be on the grid this year and for a long time."

The Frenchman told the BBC he knew for a fact that Lotus would not be the only team to miss Jerez but no others have said so far that they too will be absent.

Sauber driver Adrian Sutil, whose Swiss-based team were short of cash last year, told Reuters he would be in Jerez while last-placed Caterham have yet to name their drivers but plan to reveal the new car on the first day of testing.

Lowdon said Marussia, who completed their line-up at the weekend when they announced Britain's Max Chilton would be staying alongside Frenchman Jules Bianchi, were working hard to be there as well.

"It's the little things that start making a difference now but we're certainly planning to be there," he said.

The first test is a big one for Formula One this year, with a major change of regulations and teams running a new turbocharged V6 engine on the track for the first time after saying farewell to the old V8 units.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)