Ecclestone says Manor F1 will pay for not competing in Australia

The on-again, off-again saga of Manor Marussia switched back off again at the Australian Grand Prix this past weekend. The team shipped all of its equipment to Melbourne for the race, but didn't make it out onto the track even once; not during the practice sessions on Friday, the qualifying sessions on Saturday or the race itself on Sunday. And Bernie Ecclestone is pissed.

The ever-outspoken Formula One chief lashed out at the struggling back-marker team, telling Reuters "They had no intention of racing in Australia. Zero. They couldn't have raced if someone had gone there with a machine gun and put it to their head."

As a result, Ecclestone says they'll have to pay for the air freight to ship their equipment out to Oz and back. That's something that's usually covered by the series. But Bernie said, "They are not competing so they have to pay for that."

But why would Manor have bothered coming to Australia if, as Ecclestone asserts, they had no intention of racing? And how will they pay for the air freight if the team is weaving in and out of bankruptcy like they're held up behind a slow-moving safety car?

The answer to both may very well be the $50 million to which the team was entitled from last season's revenues. According to reports, had they not at least turned up in Australia to compete, they would have forfeited that payment. If Bernie gets his way – and he usually does – he'll be deducting the cost of the air freight from that sum, though even with the 28 metric tons of equipment they reportedly had to ship, we doubt it'll amount to packing peanuts.

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