Despite a switch to Ferrari engines in the off-season, the Marussia F1 Team still finds itself at the back of the grid in a continued war over tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
While it makes for an exciting spectacle further down the timesheets, there has been plenty of action off-track as well: its parent company, Marussia Motors, is shutting down.
This spells bad news for the Banbury-based squad, as its very reason for existing has now been taken away. The closure of Marussia’s sports car arm comes from its co-owners, Nikolai Fomenko and Andrej Cheglakov, being unable to secure the necessary funding to continue their ambitions of getting the Russian brand to become a player in the supercar market.
Quite how this could affect the Marussia F1 Team remains to be seen. It could continue as a solo racing operation, but without the ongoing investment from its carmaking namesake, it does seem rather pointless. Not only that, being a complete privateer outfit is incredibly expensive, and when you’re running around at the back of the pack, extra sponsorship dollars are harder to come by.
Behind the scenes, the ownership of the F1 Team has been transferred to the Ireland-based Marussia Communications Ltd holding group from its previous owner Marussia Lux SA, both of which are owned by Cheglakov.
While Cheglakov may be pouring plenty of cash into the team, he and Fomenko have very little involvement in the day-to-day running of the team, which is left up to John Booth and his newly-appointed right-hand man, Graeme Lowdon. Booth heads up the Manor Motorsports racing empire, which has a number of teams in junior open-wheel categories across Europe, as well as being the team that has fronted Marussia’s entry into F1, back when the team was known as Virgin Racing.
The movements in the team’s ownership structure would suggest that Cheglakov is setting up the team to be sold to a possible buyer, although quite who that could be remains a mystery.
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