Caterham F1 team face battle over cars

Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:55pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The future of the struggling Caterham Formula One team was thrown into further doubt on Tuesday when an administrator laid claim to their race cars and warned they could not leave the factory without his agreement.

Team sources disputed that, however, and said they should not be affected by legal action involving a separate company to the one that holds the official entry rights to the championship and owns the cars.

Finbarr O'Connell, appointed on Friday as a joint administrator of Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) for London-based Smith & Williamson, told Reuters he hoped the situation could be resolved in the next few days.

The cars are due to leave the factory in central England at the weekend to be flown to Austin, Texas, for next week's U.S. Grand Prix.

"My legal advice is that I own the cars and won't be allowing the cars out of the factory until I reach an acceptable agreement," said O'Connell, who added that meetings were scheduled in London on Wednesday.

He said the factory at Leafield, which was also home to CSL, was being guarded by private security that included retired soldiers from the Gurkha regiment.

Caterham have been fighting for survival since July, when Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes sold the team to a secretive consortium of investors advised by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

The team are 11th and last in the championship, without a point, and their off-track problems were highlighted earlier this month when bailiffs seized items from the factory in an action against CSL.   Continued...