Roberto Merhi, Caterham, Monza, 2014

Caterham denies reports its future is in doubt and states it will race in Japan

2014 F1 season

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Roberto Merhi, Caterham, Monza, 2014Caterham has stated it will race in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix despite reports the team’s future is in jeopardy.

Reports on Wednesday claimed staff at the Leafield headquarters fear for the future of the team and that some of its assets had been seized by bailiffs including components for its current car.

The team issued a statement denying “unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours concerning actions against 1MRT [One Malaysia Racing Team], the entrant and owner of CaterhamF1”.

The team said: “An action was threatened yesterday against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of Caterham F1 or the entrant”.

“Also contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan.”

Caterham was sold by Tony Fernandes to an unidentified consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors. A group of employees who were laid off following the takeover have brought legal action against the team and its new team principal, Christijan Albers, spent two months in the job before stepping down.

In Singapore new team principal Manfredi Ravetto said that when the new owners took over the team, “the situation was difficult to such an extent that previous ownership decided to pull the plug and therefore whatever we do we see it as an achievement”.

“The main goal is to stabilise the company, on the financial side as well as on the technical side,” he added.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Caterham denies reports its future is in doubt and states it will race in Japan”

  1. http://thesheriffsoffice.com/articles/breaking-news-impending-sale-of-a-formula-one-vehicle-and-equipment

    So either these guys are lying or they’ve genuinely seized pertinent equipment relating to the running of an F1 team…

    1. Or maybe those things weren’t registered under the 1MRT company. Either way the end seems to be closer and closer…

    2. Yeah, as @hunocsi mentions, there is about 7 different companies registered at Leafield, all having something to do with Caterham, but who knows who owns what and which company supplies what parts or people @optimaximal.

      But certainly it is a huge mess that brings back memories of other teams who had a very messy end

    3. @optimaximal after reading that article, I just had a daydream of being an F1 repo-man… how awesome of a job would that be?

  2. This looks awfully like Prost GP in 2001. I hope for them to continue, but it has become really difficult now.

  3. You can try, but you can’t stop Kamui racing in Japan :)

    1. Well, given how Kamui’s car has been, the car can stop him from racing. 4 retirements + 1 retirement when the car was borrowed by Lotterer then he didn’t even start in Singapore.

  4. After reading this story makes me concered for the teams future as this wont do any good for encouraging potential sponsers, something they have lost alot of recently

  5. Yeah, this is the end of Caterham and probably Leafield. I’ve been a fan of this team since 2010 since they seemed to have a good plan of attack, with a good core team, sufficient budget and good drivers. But as time went on, Caterham became increasingly more desperate for money, since there didn’t seem to be any progress. This will be the second time in three years that they finish outside the top 10, which means they miss out on their vital bonus.

    What really ruined them in the end was the FIA’s incompetence to set up a proper budget cap. Had the FIA done what they promised to do way back when, things would have looked very differently. It’s a shame, but that’s what happens when the FIA doesn’t have a long-term vision.

    1. Wouldn’t need a budget cap if the prize incomes where distributed more fairly.

    2. I was in support of a budget cap, in principle, but it’s just not feasible to implement given how all the different teams are run (i.e. Mercedes could potentially just put F1 development under the car company’s R&D costs, or something along those lines).

      As @kelsier said, it comes down to much better distribution of income. There’s a great article on Autosport right now outlining how Mercedes can win both titles but not be entitled to Constructors’ bonuses whereas Ferrari and McLaren, with their (relatively) uninspiring performances are still entitled to large sums of bonus money. That’s for a top team like Mercedes. If you’re a backmarker, it’s hopeless and you have to resort to Ericssons and Chiltons.

  6. It’s reported that they seized
    A 2013 test car
    Car parts due for the upcoming race
    A full size 6 DOF motion platform F1 simulator
    Pit lane equipment
    TVs, monitors and other goods and equipment

    And Caterham are like “we are fine, everything is cool”

  7. Sounds like Prost, Arrows, Super Aguri and HRT all over again. Doesn’t look good.
    Only a miracle (that means a lot of money) can help them.

    1. And Leafield was the also headquarters of Arrows and Super Aguri…

  8. Well at least they’ve stabilised the technical side of the company – they are in a very stable 11th place in constructor’s championship

  9. “Caterham was sold by Tony Fernandes to an unidentified consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors.”

    Infinity Racing by any chance?
    Sorry, just feels like I heard this story last year.

  10. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and it seem’s it has just spread to some of their Total fuel tanks..

  11. Haas should buy the team, rename it and save a lot of money by not having to start from scratch.

    1. He’s already spent a lot of money on his own facilities & suppliers.

      The F1 factory has already been built, A lot of staff already hired & contracts with suppliers such as Ferrari & Dallara are already done.

      Haas buying any existing team goes completely against what he wants to do & given how he’s already spent a lot to do it the way he originally planned, Spending extra to buy an existing team doesn’t make any sense.

      1. Didn’t they drop the Dallara deal?

  12. Dead in the water :(

  13. I flat out don’t believe the statement put out by the owners. Do we even know who these people are yet?. If they don’t get bailed out I don’t think they’ll see the end of the season.

    I don’t get why cowboys like these are still allowed to own F1 teams. Sick of it.

    1. My theory is because the cowboys are the only business people silly enough to invest money into a sport where the distribution of the revenue earned by the sport is so skewed to the commercial rights holder / established “traditional” teams (i.e. Ferrari).

      Any sane business person would stay well clear of owning a new Formula 1 team. To earn revenue you need to either get sponsorship, or win prize money. To do either of them you need to be competitive. To be competitive it seems you need to spend more money than you are ever likely to earn back. Means massive financial risk. Typically business people who take massive financial risks are the cowboys.

      How to fix it? Either budget cap, or fairer distribution of the sports revenue. A budget cap will never work. The richer teams will find creative accountants to distort the numbers. A fairer distribution of the sport’s revenue is the obvious answer.

      1. “”The richer teams will find creative accountants to distort the numbers.””
        And an intelligent independent auditor will see right through it. It will be a cat and mouse game, but the teams spending more and hiding the cost will get caught fairly easily. A 100 million fine and stripping of the constructors championship will be deterrent enough for these teams.

        1. The budget cap is a similar problem to the radio fiasco, the huge time, effort and money that would go into monitoring it. The simplest and fairest solution would be an equal distribution of money in the sport. But of course that’s not going to happen thanks to Bernie and his cohorts.

        2. The teams aren’t remotely equal. For example, Ferrari is also an engine manufacturer. In order to “cap the budget” you have to disentangle the racing division from the engine division. If I was running Ferrari, I would make that as opaque as possible to defeat capping and gain an advantage.

  14. I recall they put out a similar ‘they worked for a different company/supplier to the team’ line when those 40 employees announced they were going to sue for unfair dismissal. So obviously they have several different companies at the site, each owning different bits and pieces but all working towards the one goal – the racing team.

    Also, I hope that stuff goes really cheap. Would love a full F1 wheel modified into a light-fitting.

  15. Perhaps if Caterham had put half the effort into the car that they have put into structuring the company to avoid creditors they would not be in this situation.

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