Caterham F1 Team is set to take just 40 staff to the final round of the 2014 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi next weekend after over 200 workers were made redundant earlier this week, according to a report by Reuters.
After entering administration last month, Caterham missed the last two races in the United States and Brazil, but confirmed on Friday that it would be making a shock return to the grid for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.
Administrator Finbarr O’Connell revealed that, thanks to a crowdfunding drive to raise funds for the race, enough outside investment has been found to ensure that the team can race at Yas Marina and bring itself in line for a $40m windfall. The crowdfunding deadline has now been extended to after the race in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking to Reuters’ Alan Baldwin, O’Connell confirmed that redundancies had been made as the team had not yet been sold, with the majority of the workers agreeing to this.
“They were very supportive but asked would I agree, if the team was not sold by Friday November 14, to organize them to be made redundant,” O’Connell said, before going on to reveal that talks to try and save the team will take place in Abu Dhabi.
“We are going to Abu Dhabi, racing and talking to potential buyers with meetings already arranged out there,” he explained. “The second track is that at the same time the claims forms will be up and running.
“A best outcome could be for staff to get redundancy, arrears of pay and then if someone comes along, they would get paid again.”
Big questions do still surround the future of the team, though, with a letter sent to veteran F1 journalist Joe Saward by a former employee casting a dark shadow on events at Leafield over the past few months.
Now, all eyes will be on the backmarkers to see if they are fit to race in Abu Dhabi and whether there is a viable future in Formula 1 for the Caterham operation. It may be back from the brink, but there’s still a huge fight for the team to survive.