January 22, 2015 / 11:39 AM / in 3 years

Caterham administrators refuse to give up hope

LONDON (Reuters) - The failed Caterham Formula One team are running out of time to find a purchaser but administrators refused to count them out on Thursday.

“I am still hopeful,” Finbarr O‘Connell, who works for administrators Smith & Williamson, told Reuters on Thursday.

”As long as there are people (out) there who have got a real possibility of doing something, I‘m not going to close it (the team) down.

“Because if I do, then I will just be organizing an auction as regards the assets -- which I can do at any stage anyway.”

Caterham and rivals Marussia went into administration last October after mounting financial troubles.

While Marussia missed the last three races of 2014 and ceased trading, Caterham were absent from two grands prix but made it to the Abu Dhabi finale after raising the money through a crowd-funding initiative.

Ironically, Marussia now look more likely to be revived after a scheduled auction of their cars and race equipment was canceled this week due to the emergence of an interested party.

Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Sky Sports television that he had met a possible purchaser for Marussia on Wednesday but he was less hopeful about Caterham’s prospects.

“I had a meeting with someone...who has said they think can buy Marussia. So that would be good. Caterham, I don’t think there’s much chance of saving them. Marussia I think there’s a chance,” he said.

Marussia were ninth overall last season, ahead of Sauber and Caterham, and would be in line for significantly more prize money and revenues than Caterham, who have never scored a point in five years.

Both teams have entries for the championship, which starts in Australia on March 15.

O‘Connell recognized Caterham, founded by Malaysian airline entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, were “a much more difficult sell” but there was still interest.

“I’ve had people visiting the site. Some people are trying to find a way to make it work for them. We will do anything we can to make it happen, but it’s really in the hands of the prospective purchasers,” he said.

“I‘m very conscious that a time will come when it will not make sense for anybody to invest large sums of money in racing the Caterham team for the 2015 season. Time will just run out,” added the Irish administrator.

“I‘m not going to stifle any interest, but time is definitely running out.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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