Just as there appear to be signs of life at Marussia/Manor ahead of the 2015 Formula 1 season, the death knell is sounding for Caterham as its administrators prepare to auction off the team’s assets.
The team fell into administration following last year’s Russian Grand Prix, forcing it to miss two races before making a shock comeback in Abu Dhabi in a last-ditch bid to secure investment for the new year.
However, this appears to have fallen flat, with a statement from auctioneers Wyles Hardy & Co. confirming that the administrators are now preparing to sell off the assets of the team.
“Acting for the Joint Administrators Finbarr O’Connell, Henry Shinners and Anthony Spicer of Smith & Williamson, Wyles Hardy & Co have been instructed to realise the assets of the Caterham F1 race team,” a statement reads.
“A series of online timed auction sales will be held covering the race equipment, engineering facility, F1 memorabilia, IT and communications, office furniture and as well as private treaty sales for the Race Trailer Fleet, the state of the art Race Simulator, Dell HPC super computer and Autoclaves.
“The first Auction will focus on the race support and pit lane equipment including the 2014 chassis’ and show cars and is scheduled for early March. Further details of the sale items and terms of sale etc will be found at www.wyleshardy.com/caterhamf1/.”
The auction is set to begin on March 11, four days before the first race of the year in Australia.
Caterham fell into financial difficulty in the middle of last season after former owner Tony Fernandes and potential buyers Engavest entered a legal dispute over the sale of the team.
This ultimately led to the operation falling into administration, coming into control of Finbarr O’Connell who surprisingly managed to secure a comeback for the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix thanks in part to a crowdfunding scheme.
O’Connell was then tasked with finding a buyer for the team over the winter, telling Reuters just two weeks ago: “As long as there are people [out] there who have got a real possibility of doing something, I’m not going to close [the team] down.”
However, his best efforts appear to have now fallen short. Marussia had been set to go down a similar road after missing the last three races of last year, only for its own auction to be cancelled after talks with new buyers began to gain momentum.
The Caterham auction could generate some interest from Gene Haas, who recently acquired the old Marussia factory ahead of his F1 team’s debut at the beginning of the 2016 season.
After five years of racing, the Caterham story has come to a sad and bitter end, and we can only hope that Formula 1 learns from its plight in the future when it comes to fixing the financial crisis the sport is currently facing.