February 27, 2015 / 2:28 PM / 4 years ago

Marussia on F1 entry list, Caterham gone

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Marussia’s climb back from the brink of Formula One extinction gained momentum on Friday when they were included on the official 2015 entry list, subject to conditions.

There was no such salvation for tail-end rivals Caterham, founded by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, who have failed to find a buyer and whose cars and equipment will be auctioned off next month.

Both British-based teams went into administration in October, overwhelmed by debt, but had appeared on the previous entry list issued in December.

Marussia always had an advantage in the fight for survival, however, because they are in line for significant payments as a result of finishing ninth last year while Caterham scored no points and were 11th.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) listed the team, owned by Manor Grand Prix, as Manor Marussia F1 and said their presence was subject to full compliance with the latest technical regulations.

The season starts in Australia on March 15 and they will compete with Ferrari engines and a chassis listed as Marussia, despite the team no longer having any Russian involvement, to qualify for the commercial rights money due from last season.

Britain’s Will Stevens will be one of their drivers, providing he holds a super license, with the other still to be decided.

That may be more a question of the 23-year-old making the necessary payment rather than meeting performance criteria, given that he raced without incident in last year’s Abu Dhabi season-ender for Caterham.

Marussia’s bigger hurdle will be meeting the technical regulations, with rival teams denying them the chance to compete initially with last year’s car.

They will have to pass a crash test before the cars and freight leave for Australia at the end of next week.

The team said on Wednesday the car was in “an advanced stage of build” at their Dinnington factory and they were making “huge strides” towards Melbourne.

Marussia have not raced since the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi last October, the team missing the last three races of the 2014 season.

They were already struggling emotionally as well as financially by then, with popular French driver Jules Bianchi suffering severe brain injuries in an horrific crash into a recovery tractor in Japan days earlier.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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