Crisis deepens at Caterham Formula One team

Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:33pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The Caterham Formula One team looked close to collapse on Wednesday with management threatening to walk away and take legal action against Malaysian founder Tony Fernandes.

An explosive Caterham F1 statement accused Fernandes of never completing a formal transfer of ownership after the team's sale to secretive Swiss and Middle Eastern investors was announced in July.

It said he was effectively still the owner and therefore responsible for the team.

The Malaysian, who runs the AirAsia airline and is also chairman of struggling Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers, responded on Twitter by telling his 895,000 followers: "If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple."

He told the BBC separately that the statement was 'garbage'.

With their cars seemingly stuck in the factory after a service company went into administration, and a weekend deadline looming for them to be sent to Texas for the next race, the team's prospects of survival look bleak.

"The seller has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the Buyer," the statement asserted, identifying the buyer as Engavest SA.

"The Buyer has been left in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought.   Continued...

Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, gestures during an interview with Reuters at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, in Manila's Makati financial district May 22, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro