Rival teams close the door on Marussia's return to F1

A big question mark has hung over the Formula One grid like a black flag since last season. That's when two of the sport's least successful teams began to falter, and we've been left to wonder ever since if either or both of them would make it back onto the grid for the 2015 championship. And now we seem to have our answer.

Earlier we reported that Caterham's assets were now being auctioned off to the highest bidder, spelling the end of the troubled team. Now it seems that Marussia may not be returning this season, either.

One of the last nails in the troubled team's coffin came at the hand of the Formula One Strategy Group, a gathering of the heads of each team that met in Paris on Thursday. Marussia was petitioning the group for special dispensation to run their 2014 car this season – something that the front-running teams had expressed a willingness to allow if it would make the difference between Marussia making it back or not.

Marussia would have needed unanimous support from all the other teams in order to proceed, though, and ultimately it was the other small teams that provided the obstacle. Independent teams especially rely on their share of the sport's revenues (principally drawn from the television licensing fees) to balance their budgets, and getting rid of Marussia means each team gets a larger slice of the pie.

Without that dispensation, the support of its rivals or enough time to prepare an all-new chassis before the season kicks off next month in Melbourne, it would seem the team's hopes of pulling out of bankruptcy and getting back on the grid are down for the count. This despite the team's owners having worked out a restructuring plan and reportedly paid the entry fee for this year.

The Marussia team, for those unfamiliar, entered the series in 2010 under the Virgin Racing banner. The team failed to score a single championship point until this past season when Jules Bianchi finished ninth at the Monaco Grand Prix. The French driver and Ferrari prodigy later suffered a catastrophic crash at the Japanese Grand Prix from which he is still recovering. The team subsequently fielded one car in Korea then dropped off the grid entirely.

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