Good morning and welcome to SPEED’s Live blog from Korea International Circuit in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. Be sure to check back throughout the day for updates ahead of the Korean Grand Prix.
Sauber Confirms 2014 Ferrari Deal
Sauber has finally confirmed that it will continue with Ferrari into 2014 and beyond.
The team has signed a ‘multi-year’ deal for supply of engine, ERS and gearbox. Although the deal was always going to happen, it had been held up while details were ironed out.
When asked about the delay, team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told SPEED blog: “We had some small issues which also took their time because we all have been traveling so much. I myself even the weeks when we have not been racing have been out of the country quite often.
“Last week had Sochi [an F1 demonstration] where we also left on Wednesday, so it just took a while. There were one or two small points, and they’ve been sorted out now.”
Marussia Posts Huge Loss For 2012
The Marussia F1 team made a staggering loss of $78.3m for the 2012 calendar year – having lost some $60.9m in the previous season.
The team, officially registered as Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, had a turnover of just $38.3m, which was up from $37.1m in 2011.
In its annual report the team says that the increased loss reflected “further significant investment in people, technology and infrastructure.”
To date, the huge losses have been covered by loans from the shareholders. The report notes that as of April 13 this year “loans, accrued interest and fees of $188,750,682.6 were capitalized. This has improved the group’s balance sheet considerably and makes the company a more attractive prospect to potential investors and sponsors.”
The report adds that “the directors are … confident that the combination of formal shareholder support together with further investment and sponsorship will enable the company to meet its debts for a period of at least 12 months from the date of signing these financial statements.”
The team remains confident that the future is brighter.
“Because of the way we structured the business in the year ending 2012, a lot of money from our major shareholder and sponsor Marussia went in as loans,” team CEO Graeme Lowdon told SPEED blog. “Post balance sheet date nearly $190.2m of those loans were subsequently capitalized – which means that instead of that sitting on your balance sheet as a debt owed back to Marussia, it’s turned into share capital.
“It looks as if we have a lot of debt, but a significant proportion of that debt has now been removed. Money that is now coming in from Marussia is coming is as sponsorship instead of loans.
“If you look at Red Bull, nearly $135.9m a year comes in from their parent company by means of sponsorship instead of loans. If you were to remove that element from their accounts, they would go from a nominal profit to an enormous loss.”
Meanwhile, Lowdon says that the team is hoping to finally secure a Concorde deal with Bernie Ecclestone: “You could argue that it’s been highly detrimental to our business. We would hope that we would reach some form of agreement so that we’re on a level playing field with the other participants.”
Pic Lands A Second Reprimand
Charles Pic has received his second reprimand of the season from the FIA stewards, and is thus under threat of a 10-place penalty should he receive another.
The Caterham driver was reported for missing a weight check during Free Practice Two. He told the stewards that he had seen a red light and a FIA official pointing, but thought it was for the driver behind.
His previous reprimand was earned during FP2 at Spa, where he was deemed to have rejoined the track in an unsafe manner.
While a 10-place penalty isn’t quite as disastrous for Pic as it might be for drivers closer to the front of the grid, it might yet give a little edge to Marussia as the battle for 10th-place in the championship heats up.Charles Pic, Formula 1, Korean GP, Marussia, Sauber