Caterham denies future is at risk despite goods being seized

2 Comments

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.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
0 Comments

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.