Feb.4 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Force India and also F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone have played down reports about the health of the Silverstone based team.

Amid rumours the team is in financial trouble and could miss the season opener in Melbourne, a Force India spokesperson said on Monday: “We will definitely be in Melbourne and are still planning to test in Barcelona.”

But late on Tuesday, reports emerged that the team will in fact probably also miss the first of the two Barcelona tests due to supplier problems.

The sport’s chief executive Ecclestone, meanwhile, reacted to reports in the German media that at a meeting of the strategy group last week it emerged that Force India is close to collapse.

“There was not a strategy group meeting on Tuesday,” the 84-year-old told us. “I suppose you were referring to last Tuesday where there was also no strategy group meeting.”

Italy’s Omnicorse, however, claims an American investor has commenced due diligence on Force India, which is currently owned by the embattled Vijay Mallya and the jailed Subrata Roy.

“The next few days will be crucial,” the report added.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone denied suggestions he is trying to find a buyer for Lotus in order to “get rid of” Gerard Lopez, insisting the Luxembourger is in fact “a friend”.