SUZUKA Japan (Reuters) - Caterham principal Manfredi Ravetto said on Friday there were no guarantees the Formula One team would make it to the end of the season but expressed confidence they could do so.
Caterham’s future, a constant source of speculation in a paddock populated by teams hit hard by the high costs of competing, was thrown into doubt ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix when bailiffs raided their British factory.
The seizure of various items raised questions about the team’s participation at Suzuka but their two cars participated as usual in Friday practice.
Speaking to reporters shortly after arriving in Japan, Ravetto recognized the uncertainty had not been dispelled entirely.
“I agree I did not provide you with a bankable guarantee that we will be here until the end of the season or next year, but who can?” he said after initially dodging the question about the team’s survival.
“I can tell you that I am very much confident,” he added reiterating that the team’s 2015 car was currently being developed in the Toyota wind-tunnel in Cologne, Germany.
“On the other side we are also realistic,” Ravetto added. “We know where we are coming from, or at least where this team is coming from, so we are also quite relaxed in this respect.”
The troubled team, who have never scored a point and are last in the standings, changed hands in July when Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, frustrated by the lack of results, pulled the plug and sold it to a group of unidentified Swiss and Middle-Eastern investors.
They are represented by former Jordan, MidlandF1, Spyker and HRT boss Colin Kolles, a specialist in keeping ailing teams afloat and who remains very much in the background.
Caterham remain based at Leafield in central England but are now linked to the Caterham sportscar company in name only.
Ravetto, who took over as principal last month, said the items seized by bailiffs had belonged to companies that had nothing to do with the Formula One team.
“When they (the bailiffs) were in Leafield, not a single screwdriver was removed for the very simple reason that our solicitors got all the paperwork done in order to prove that it is a matter of totally different companies,” he said.
Ravetto said parts bound for the Japanese Grand Prix had not been shipped back to Britain after the last race in Singapore.
“As far as I can see, the parts of the 2014 car for the Japanese Grand Prix are next door,” he added.
“There was a bailiff who removed certain stuff, but this is more memorabilia than race critical parts.”
Editing by Alan Baldwin