Report: Caterham can run next season with 2014 car if buyer can be found

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Time will tell if we’ve seen the last of Caterham in Formula One, but should a new buyer be found for the team, it will have the ability to run next season with its 2014 car, the CT05.

Britain’s Press Association reports that the team has received a special dispensation to do just that following a recent meeting of the Formula One Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.

The decision must still be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council during its own meeting this week in Qatar.

But with no need to worry about money toward building a new car in 2015, potential buyers may now see the financially stricken Caterham as a less costly way to enter the sport and get a proper base for 2016.

“The F1 Commission and FIA agreed if it would assist the weaker teams they can use the 2014 car next year, so giving them more time and options,” Caterham administrator Finbarr O’Connell said to the PA. “That is of interest to all the parties I’m talking to because it gives them a choice, an easier start to get into F1 if they chose that route. It helps.”

Caterham needed a successful crowd-funding campaign to make it to the grid for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. During that weekend, O’Connell said that a sale of the team by Christmas was important to ensure its survival.

But while he’s still pushing for a pre-Christmas deal with somebody, he said the deadline is no longer as urgent thanks to the dispensation.

“It now doesn’t have to happen by then, but the earlier the better from my point of view, and I’m encouraging people as much as I can,” he said. “It’s a very difficult purchase decision for any party because of the huge costs involved in running a F1 team. I’m still talking to a few interested parties, and I’m hoping one of them can do the deal.

“The number of people I’m talking to has increased, with two very strong candidates, and a third less strong. All I can do is show what I have, show the team, the assets and the facilities, and facilitate in any way I can with them making a decision. I remain confident something will be done.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.