BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One needs teams like Marussia to survive and thrive, rivals said after the tail-enders moved closer to a return to racing.
While Caterham appear destined for the scrap heap, or at least the liquidation of their assets, Marussia were named on the official Formula One entry list on Friday after securing their exit from administration.
“I am so pleased... I think it’s great to see them back,” Williams technical head Pat Symonds, who joined his current team after a stint at Marussia, told Reuters at the final pre-season test.
“(Team principal) John (Booth) and (sporting director) Graeme (Lowdon) are two great guys, real racers. I started 35 years ago at Toleman and Toleman was not as professional as Marussia,” he added.
“But the seed of that team produced Benetton and Renault and now Lotus. (Designer) Rory Byrne, all his wins, my career. There is such a place for teams like that, they are so important to the sport.”
With Caterham’s demise, Formula One will have just 10 teams this season with the future of some of the smaller outfits far from secure.
Marussia, who are entered as Manor Marussia F1 subject to conditions including their car passing a crash test and complying with the 2015 technical regulations.
“Against all the odds it looks like they are going to be in Melbourne, which is fantastic,” Symonds said.
Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley, whose privately-owned team vetoed a proposal for Marussia to be allowed to race temporarily with their 2014 car, also welcomed their return while defending his earlier stance.
“It was entirely safety related. Why would we allow a technically unsafe chassis to race when everybody else has made them safe?” he told Reuters.
”It wasn’t that we were against the concession, it was against the fact that it was carte blanche. What were we going to do, allow the 2014 car in for the whole year? In which case why have we gone and made 2015 cars?
“All we can do is wish success. If they can do that (satisfy the 2015 regulations), that’s what they should have done in the first place.”
Editing by John O'Brien