Caterham F1 team on brink of failure
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - The Caterham Formula One team was on the brink of collapse on Thursday with employees locked out of the factory while past and present management traded accusations over who was to blame.
Even if an administrator held out some hope that the team might survive, time was running out with a Saturday deadline looming for the cars to be sent to Texas for next week's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin and then on to Brazil.
"Everybody is prepared to go to Austin, the problem is that if the administrators are not changing their mind then it is difficult," team advisor Colin Kolles told reporters in a conference call.
Finbarr O'Connell, one of the administrators appointed to sort out the mess at the Leafield factory, told Reuters various parties had approached him to express interest either in the assets or keeping Caterham racing as an F1 team.
He made clear, however, that the cars could not leave without his agreement -- something that looked unlikely on Thursday with Kolles wishing him good luck "in Dreamland".
"They (the staff) can't get into the factory today," said O' Connell, a restructuring and recovery partner with London firm Smith and Williamson.
"They are using my facilities and haven't paid me.
The threat of legal action hung over the team, which was run by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes until July when a sale was announced to a shadowy group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors advised by Kolles. Continued...