After a past three months where the possibility of Marussia’s return has looked off – then on – then off again, it seems as though we have been waiting an age for a definitive conclusion. Today, said conclusion has finally been reached, with the announcement arriving that Marussia will exit administration on February 19th, with an aim of racing in Melbourne. However, this is the first step on what promises to be a tight turn-around if the team are to fulfill this aspiration.
I suppose the first point to make clear is that Marussia will not compete in Melbourne – Manor GP have the entry and it would be under this name that the team would compete. At its core though, the outfit would still be based in Banbury and would more than likely be headed by John Booth and Graeme Lowdon, so in this regard, not calling them Marussia may take some getting used to.
Over the past weeks, a number of rumors have circulated in regards to potential investors, with the likes of Gene Haas having been linked with a buyout. This particular thread was quelled some weeks ago, when Haas stated that the factory itself was the only aspect of interest to him. Today, Sky News revealed that former Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Justin King was part of a consortium of buyers negotiating a scheme to revive the team.
King would be a good candidate for the role of Marussia’s savior. Any potential buyer would need to have deep pockets and a determination to succeed, as this is not a short-term project. Understandably, I imagine that some fans would have concerns in regards to the fact that King does not have any pre-existing links with the sport and therefore, may not be fully aware of the challenges which lay ahead. However, King is heavily involved with motorsport, albeit indirectly, through his son’s racing career. Jordan King is a highly talented prospect for the future, who is set to embark on his GP2 career this season. As such, Justin King could potentially have a veiled motivation to invest as it could give his son an improved chance of reaching Formula 1 in the near future.
I hasten to add, that Justin King is merely in the running – and the race is not over yet. All we do know for sure is that Marussia are set to exit administration and Manor GP have the aspiration of re-joining the paddock ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. However, numerous issues need to be negotiated first, as the team currently lack employees, drivers and equipment. Whether it be King or another candidate, it looks like the popular team are close to the investment they need to make their highly anticipated return.
Image Credit: "Jules Bianchi Marussia 2013 Silverstone F1 Test" By Nic Redhead (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons