Le­gal wran­gle over Cater­ham staff cuts

New team own­ers take dras­tic mea­sures to slash costs

F1 Racing - - IN­SIDER -

Cater­ham face le­gal ac­tion from more than 40 for­mer em­ploy­ees as their new own­ers seek to cut costs to save the fal­ter­ing team. Job losses have re­duced the work­force by more than ten per cent – Cater­ham pre­vi­ously em­ployed 350 peo­ple – and have in ef­fect wiped out a whole tier of se­nior man­age­ment and their salaries.

A so­lic­i­tor rep­re­sent­ing the for­mer em­ploy­ees said that they are plan­ning a law­suit for un­fair dis­missal. “The sum­mary dis­missal of em­ploy­ees from Cater­ham was done with­out warn­ing or con­sul­ta­tion and will re­sult in signicant com­pen­sa­tion claims against the team,” Christo­pher Fel­ton told the BBC.

Cater­ham re­sponded with a stiff re­but­tal: “The team is now tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against those par­ties rep­re­sent­ing the in­di­vid­u­als con­cerned, and each per­son in­volved, seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion for the dam­ages suf­fered by the team due to the gross mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the facts made by all those con­cerned.” For­mer owner Tony Fer­nan­des sold his team to a Swiss/Mid­dle-Eastern con­sor­tium in early July. The money is be­lieved to be from the Mid­dle East, with the deal be­ing ad­min­is­tered from Switzer­land. The new own­ers have still not re­vealed their iden­tity, but have placed Colin Kolles in the team as an ad­viser. Kolles is de facto team prin­ci­pal, al­though for­mer F1 driver Chris­ti­jan Al­bers has been given that job ti­tle.

Kolles has a rep­u­ta­tion as a cost-cut­ter and made it clear from the very be­gin­ning that he wanted a leaner op­er­a­tion. The team say they have given the green light to de­velop an up­grade that should be ready in time for the Bel­gian Grand Prix, with the hope of mov­ing up to tenth place in the con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship by the end of the sea­son. This would stop them los­ing out on £10mil­lion of prize money, but it’s a long shot, since their back-of-the-grid ri­vals Marus­sia have al­ready scored two points as a re­sult of Jules Bianchi’s ninth-place nish in Monaco.

Cater­ham’s fo­cus on cost-cut­ting has shifted spec­u­la­tion to the fu­ture of their driver line-up. They have al­ready held talks with Red Bull about plac­ing Car­los Sainz Jr in the team at some point this year.

Red Bull, who pro­vide Cater­ham’s gear­box and rear sus­pen­sion, say Sainz must win the For­mula Re­nault 3.5 ti­tle be­fore he can be con­sid­ered for F1 pro­mo­tion. He could tie this up by the end of Septem­ber, but even if it goes to the last round, he could still be parachuted into Cater­ham for the nal three races. Af­ter all, it was with the Kolles-led HRT team that Daniel Ric­cia­rdo made his For­mula 1 de­but in the sec­ond half of 2011.

None of this is good news for Ka­mui Kobayashi, who drives for free but brings very lit­tle money to Cater­ham, un­like team-mate Mar­cus Eric­s­son.

Colin Kolles: renowned cost-cut­ter, now de

facto team prin­ci­pal at ail­ing Cater­ham

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.