Caterham denies future is at risk despite goods being seized


The future of Caterham F1 Team looks to be coming under increasing threat after some of the team’s goods were seized and removed from its factory in England today.

Following the sale of the team by former owner Tony Fernandes back in July, speculation about Caterham’s future has been rife despite the new management claiming that the team was safe and already preparing for the 2015 season.

There have been a number of departures from Leafield over the past three months, prompting a group of released employees to launch legal action against their former employer.

The state of affairs seemed to be summed up when team principal Christijan Albers – the man drafted in to save Caterham – resigned after just two months in charge.

However, the situation appears to have become far more grave today as the team had many of its assets seized by High Court enforcement officers.

According to The Sheriffs Office, the following goods have been seized:

  • Caterham F1 test car (2013)
  • Caterham F1 car parts (due for Japan 2014)
  • Full size 6 DOF motion platform F1 simulator
  • Caterham F1 steering wheels
  • F1 wheels with tires
  • High quality drilling & machining equipment
  • Caterham & Lotus F1 memorabilia
  • Various pit lane equipment including jacks, pumps and starters
  • TVs, monitors and other goods and equipment

These goods will be sold at a public auction.

The team was quick to deny that its future was at risk, insisting that operations at base in Leafield and in Japan were still going as normal.

“There have been unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours concerning actions against 1MRT [1 Malaysia Racing Team], the entrant and owner of CaterhamF1,” a statement from the team read.

“An action was threatened yesterday against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of CaterhamF1 or the entrant.

“Also contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan.”

However, the team had been promising major upgrades for this weekend’s race at Suzuka, believing that they would give it a shot at beating nearest rivals Marussia and Sauber with the view to moving off the foot of the constructors’ championship table.

Now that said upgrades have been seized though, these hopes have been scuppered, leaving drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson facing a difficult weekend at Suzuka.

The more concerning question is how grave the problems at Caterham are. It has been common knowledge for some time that the team is facing an uphill struggle to survive, but new team principal Manfredi Ravetto seemed optimistic about the future when speaking in a recent interview.

“I think we have done a small miracle to bring it to where it is,” he told the F1 website. “I think we also did a small miracle by improving the performance and being ahead of Marussia in terms of speed and very close to Lotus and Sauber. We are set to deliver miracles.”

The sale of Caterham by Tony Fernandes has been very complex. The Malaysian businessmen denied for months that he was set to sell before summing up his venture in three words: “F1 hasn’t worked”. The team was then sold to a consortium made up of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors in a deal brokered by former Spyker and HRT boss Colin Kolles.

However, this did not include all of Caterham’s motorsport interests. The Caterham Racing GP2 team was set up as an offshoot to the F1 outfit, but it is no longer associated with it despite still working on the same site. Therefore, Caterham Racing continues to operate as normal.

The original young driver programme, of which American driver Alexander Rossi was a member, disappeared with Fernandes though, prompting Rossi to move to Marussia where he now works as a test driver.

Although the team has insisted that it is business as normal, all eyes will be on its activity across the course of this weekend’s race at Suzuka and where it goes from there.

Just as the warnings signs were there when HRT F1 Team folded at the end of the 2012 season after just three seasons racing, alarm bells are now ringing louder than ever for Caterham.

Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103