Caterham administrators in talks with possible new buyers

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The administrators currently in charge at Caterham F1 Team have confirmed in a new statement that they are in talks with a number of possible buyers for the financially-stricken outfit.

Following a dispute between former owner Tony Fernandes and possible buyers Engavest, the team entered administration last week and was taken over by administrator Finbarr O’Connell of Smith and Williamson.

Caterham will not be racing in the United States this weekend, nor will it take part in the Brazilian Grand Prix in one week’s time. Marussia will also miss both races after hitting its own financial strife following the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

In a statement issued on Friday, the administrators confirmed that it was still hoping to get the investment in place for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in three weeks’ time. Failing that, it will work to get the team on the grid for 2015.

“We remain in conversation with a number of credible, interested parties regarding the sale of the historic Caterham F1 racing team,” the statement reads.

“Our current strategy is to seek a buyer that will allow the team to compete in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on 23 November 2014 and we are doing all we can to make that happen. However, if a deal cannot be finalised in time, then the strategy is to secure a buyer to allow the team to compete in the 2015 F1 championship.

“We are working with our specialist Corporate Finance team to manage the sale process and we have received several expressions of interest from parties with the financial strength to fund a F1 race team. These conversations are ongoing. We believe this approach will maximise the assets of the broader Caterham F1 team and so enable the best outcome for creditors and other stakeholders, including employees of 1MRT.”

The statement also revealed that the employees at Caterham F1 Team actually work for 1 Malaysia Racing Team, Tony Fernandes’ company, and not the firm that has entered administration, Caterham Sports Limited.

“Staff at Caterham’s Leafield site in Oxfordshire are employees of 1MRT, which is a separate entity to CSL,” it reads. “Staff were advised in writing that from 8 October 2014, their employment had been transferred from CSL to 1MRT. This took place before the current administrators of CSL were appointed.

“As administrators to CSL, we are doing our best to resolve matters as smoothly as possible and for the benefit of creditors and other stakeholders. This remains a highly complex situation.

“We understand that in recent weeks there has been a lack of communication between 1MRT and staff at the Leafield site. The administrators of CSL are therefore mindful of the uncertainty facing 1MRT’s employees and their families and are doing their best to address this.”

For the time being, the uncertainty at Caterham is set to continue. O’Connell is set to travel to Austin this weekend for the United States Grand Prix to provide updates on the search for a buyer, but unless one is found soon, Caterham’s hopes of survival may be all but over.

Caterham drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi have come to the race in Austin despite not racing, with Ericsson conducting work for Swedish television as his F1 hopes are put on hold.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX