February 06, 2015

LONDON (AP) The Formula One team formerly known as Marussia has suffered a setback to its hopes of entering this year's championship, after the F1 Strategy Group said its application ''lacked substance'' and was ''speculative.''

The team missed the last three races of last season after going into administration, but ManorGP - which has raced under the Marussia and Virgin names since entering F1 - is in negotiations with proposed new investors.

ManorGP is seeking dispensation to enter this year's championship with last year's car despite alterations to the rules governing the design of the chassis and wings.

To do so, the team needed majority approval from the F1 Strategy Group comprising the FIA - motorsport's governing body - plus the F1 commerical rights holder headed by Bernie Ecclestone, and the top six teams of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Force India.

Force India was among those to vote against on Thursday.

''During the meeting it emerged there were compliance issues, and that the application lacked substance,'' Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley said. ''The speculative submission contained no supporting documentation to reinforce the case for offering special dispensation. For example, no details were supplied of who the new owners would be, or the operational structures that would be put in place.''

However ManorGP's Graeme Lowdon, who was chief executive of the team before it entered administration, said he was surprised by Fernley's comments.

''We did not make any application to yesterday's Strategy Group meeting and nor were we asked to,'' Lowdon said.

''Instead, we are proceeding with our clear process regarding compliance and building our operation. We are doing everything possible to adhere to the process set out for us to return to the 2015 grid.''

Lowdon said that ''given the confidential nature of the negotiations underway, neither they (the investors) nor the team are able to provide further details regarding the team's new investors, however those investors have either met with or spoken to the key F1 bodies.''

Manor is provisionally entered on the 2015 team list, with the season to start in Melbourne, Australia on March 15.

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