Friday 31 October 2014

Mystery still surrounds F1 Caterham

Mystery appears to continue to surround the future of F1 racing team Caterham. As the month of October closes, employees appear not to have been paid, and those with mortgages have  been forced to seek alternative employment

Employees who have tried to respond to company emails informing them of cancellation of flights to the US and Brazil have been thwarted – no replies have been forthcoming and they have been left in the dark. Some 200 employees have been affected by the lock-out.

A week ago, employees were locked out of the factory in Leafield, Oxfordshire, as a battle raged between Engavest, a consortium led by Colin Kolles, which seemed to have bought the team from owner Tony Fernandes.

There have been claims and counter claims between the two ‘owners’ with Engavest claiming that ‘every single condition precedent of the sales and purchase agreement for which Engraves was responsible has been met'. Engavest added that Fernades had not handed over the shares of the company.

At issue also is a disagreement as to who is responsible for a mountain of £15 million in debts.

Administrators Smith and Williamson have been appointed. There are also rumours that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has to some extent bankrolled Caterham in a bid to get it racing before the end of the year.

Both Marussi (which has also gone into administration) and Caterham have been given dispensation by Ecclestone to miss the US Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ecclestone has said that the non-appearance of the two teams will “not trigger the third-car clause because the contracts allow teams to miss two races each year”.

The rule, written into the various F1 teams’ contracts compels them to field a third car if the grid falls below a threshold of 20.

Meanwhile, the sport’s ruling body, the FIA, has again questioned the financial 'failings' of Formula One following the downfall over the past week of Marussia and Caterham.

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