Force India open to ‘proper’ Marussia bid

Date published: February 7 2015

Adamant Force India does not want to "lose teams", Bob Fernley says the team would consider another bid from Marussia if it was "a proper presentation."

Marussia's chances of finding a new buyer were dealt a blow on Thursday when F1's Strategy Group voted against the team running a 2014 car in this year's campaign.

Force India have come in for some criticism after it emerged that Fernley cast the first vote. And he said no.

However, as his vote meant a unanimous agreement would not be reached, it has been reported that others did not even get around to casting their votes.

Having defended his decision on Friday, stating that Marussia's application had "compliance issues" and "lacked substance", the Force India deputy team principal has now revealed that his team would be open to Marussia putting together another bid.

"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," he 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."

Pressed as to whether Force India could vote yes if a proper bid was put together, 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."

As for Bernie Ecclestone's comments that getting a share of Marussia's £34m prize money played a role in the teams' decision, Fernley admitted that "of course" money was part of the decision.

"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."