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2015-03-02 07:58

GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER: The start of the 2015 Formula 1 season is not far away. Image: Shutterstock.

LONDON, England - Two weeks before the 2015 Formula 1 season begins the shape of the grid is still not certain - and not just because of Manor's rocky resurrection in Melbourne. The Manor team was previously known as Marussia.

Force India, for instance, has only just got its 2015 car running after months of rumours of near-terminal financial and supplier problems.

Deputy boss Bob Fernley admitted to Sky: "We've had cash-flow issues... no question about that. It's tough for all the independent teams."

CRUCIAL SUPPLIERS

Indeed, rumours swirling in the paddock at the Catalunya circuit have suggested that only five or six teams can be fully relied on to make it to Melbourne and stay alive for the whole of the season.

Auto Motor and Sport reported that Bernie Ecclestone met recently in London with the bosses of struggling Lotus, Force India and Sauber which teams reportedly warned that, as a worst-case scenario, they might not even be in Melbourne due to a "cash-flow" crisis.

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez explained: "November, December and January are the worst because during this phase of design and production you spend 43% of your budget with nothing (money) coming in."

That's what happened to Force India, some of whose crucial suppliers suddenly began to demand upfront payments.

A source at the Silverstone-based team said: "From April we have no problem, money starts flowing again. Anyway, we will be at the start in Melbourne."

Meanwhile, Speed Week reported that in Barcelona on Saturday (Feb 28) representatives of F1 engine-makers Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda met to discuss 2017. A return to V8 engines was ruled out and proposals to make the sport louder and more powerful were discussed but no decisions were taken.

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