Williams says it would have backed Marussia’s request to use its 2014 car this season, despite opposition from fellow members of the F1 Strategy Group.
The Strategy Group – made up of Formula 1’s top six teams, including Williams – blocked Marussia’s bid to return to the grid last week, after it failed to reach an unanimous agreement.
Force India rejected the team’s proposal to race its old car in 2015 on the grounds that the request ‘lacked substance’, but Marussia, which slipped into administration last November, claims no request was ever made to the Strategy Group.
Marussia says it is already working towards readying its 2014 car for this season, after the Strategy Group agreed earlier this year that the outfit could race a modified version of its old car in 2015, and Williams says it would back the team’s return.
“We’ve been very clear on our position around Marussia and their entry: we want a full competitive line-up on the grid next year and we will do anything to support Marussia coming back in,” Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams told Sky Sports News HQ.
“We made it very clear in the Strategy Group that we would vote for them to be able to use the 2014 chassis this season.
“Unfortunately it hasn’t happened, but Williams want a competitive line-up on the grid and we want to help the smaller teams.
“I think we’ve demonstrated that and are always pushing cost control in Formula 1. That’s to save the smaller teams that are really struggling, the likes of Marussia and Caterham, but also the middle teams as well at the moment that are facing some serious issues.”
Williams returned to the front of the grid in 2014 after surviving a series of barren years, and says that some form of cost control must be considered for the good of the sport.
“It’s hard work. We are what I call a middle team, not a small team,” Williams added.
“We go racing based on the sponsorship budget that we can generate, coupled with the prize money that we get, but it’s a hard fight. We’ve got to generate £60m a year in sponsorship to keep our team racing.
“To be competitive in F1, I don’t believe that you need to spend £200m a year, you’ve got to work harder and smarter than anyone else if you’ve got a smaller budget – but it’s so hard to generate that income.
“That’s why it’s important the cost control issues we’re trying to discuss at the moment are pushed through. It’s critical for the sustainability of our sport.”
Images courtesy of Williams F1 Team and Pirelli