February 11, 2015 / 1:38 PM / 4 years ago

Williams supportive of Marussia comeback

LONDON (Reuters) - Williams are supportive of Marussia’s attempts to return to the Formula One grid and would have agreed to them starting the season with last year’s car, deputy principal Claire Williams said on Wednesday.

Williams Formula One deputy team principal Claire Williams attends a news conference after the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne in this file photo taken on March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone

“We’ve been very clear on our position around Marussia and their entry: we want a full competitive line-up on the grid...and we will do anything to support Marussia coming back in,” she told Sky Sports television.

“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,” she added.

“Unfortunately it hasn’t happened but Williams want a competitive line-up on the grid and we want to help the smaller teams.”

Marussia folded last year, overwhelmed by debts that forced them to miss the last three races of the season.

However an auction of cars and equipment was canceled last month after new investors emerged and the British-based team, who finished ninth overall with two points, plan to come out of administration on Monday.

With time running out before the season starts in Australia on March 15, they had sought permission to use their 2014 car until the new one was ready but the Formula One strategy group rejected that last week.

With a unanimous vote required, Force India made clear they would vote against and dismissed Marussia’s application as “speculative” and lacking substance.

Force India, along with Sauber and Lotus, had financial difficulties of their own last year and have yet to test their 2015 car.

Williams, whose technical head Pat Symonds worked previously for Marussia, said costs had to be controlled with even middle ranking teams “facing some serious issues”.

“We are what I call a middle team, not a small team. We go racing based on the sponsorship budget that we can generate, coupled with the prize money that we get,” she said.

“But it’s a hard fight. We’ve got to generate 60 million pounds ($91.77 million) a year in sponsorship to keep our team racing.

“To be competitive in F1, I don’t believe that you need to spend 200 million (pounds) 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.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez

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