Caterham look set to be wound up in two weeks unless a buyer can be found
As many as 12 potential buyers have expressed an interest, however
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 03/11/14 6:18pm
Caterham’s administrators have said the team will probably be wound up in the next two weeks unless a buyer can be found.
The Leafield outfit was taken into administration last week and will miss Sunday's U.S. GP as well as next weekend's race in Brazil.
Around 200 jobs are under threat, although it's believed that as many as 12 potential buyers have expressed an interest.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, joint administrator Henry Shinners said a meeting with the Caterham staff had been held and revealed that their salaries for October hadn’t been paid.
“The staff are actually employed by 1MRT, the Malaysian company that actually has the licence to race in Formula 1. We’re the administrators of the subsidiary company, Caterham Sports Limited, so they’re not our employees,” he explained.
“But the management of 1MRT hasn’t been speaking to them. They have no information about what’s going on and their salaries haven’t been paid for October. So we feel obliged to meet with them and let them know what’s going on from our perspective.”
Caterham was sold to Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium Engavest by founder Tony Fernandes at the end of June, although the terms of the agreement caused the two parties to fall out spectacularly last week.
“We’re continuing our efforts to try and find a buyer for the team, bearing in mind the workforce are the lifeblood of the team,” Shinners added.
“We feel that if a buyer doesn’t come forward in the next two weeks then we’ll probably have to wind it down.”
Marussia followed their rivals into administration at the start of the week and although their staff have been paid this month, they could be asked to work without pay whilst a buyer is found.
The situation the pair find themselves in has reignited the debate over costs in F1. Both arrived on the grid in 2010 along with HRT, who lasted just three seasons before they went bust. All three teams were granted entries under a promised budget cap, which then fell by the wayside.
But more establised teams - notably Sauber and Lotus - are also cash-strapped, with many within F1 questioning its business model and the division of prize money.
A large percentage of the sport's revenues are retained by the commercial rights holders, while earlier this year larger teams fought off plans by the FIA to introduce a budget cap in 2015.
With 18 cars taking part in Austin this weekend and three-car teams an option to make up the numbers in 2015 Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle saw both sides of the argument.
“Primarily the teams have to come in with a budget - it is an expensive sport - and run their teams and find some success, so it is not everyone else’s problem to pay for that," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "Having said that the income structure – the haves and the have nots – is just too far apart.
"All three of the new teams that have come in have now fallen away, they came in under the promise of a £40 million budget which never happened, but they carried on and haven’t been successful because they didn’t attract the right people into the team or the right amount of money to make their cars competitive. So first and foremost it is not about the lowest common denominator it is about achieving great success.
"Having said that we need a grid full of cars so something needs to change.”