Cash cri­sis side­lines For­mula 1 min­nows

F1 Racing - - F1 INSIDER -

Cater­ham and Marus­sia find them­selves in dire fi­nan­cial straits as the ad­min­is­tra­tors are called in and races are missed

The fu­ture of Cater­ham and Marus­sia is in doubt after ad­min­is­tra­tors took con­trol of both teams, with both of them miss­ing the US and Brazil­ian Grands Prix.

Cater­ham’s cri­sis came at the end of a week of bad-tem­pered press-re­lease ping-pong be­tween founder Tony Fer­nan­des and the new own­ers, Swiss company En­gavest, who took over in July. Each side ac­cused the other of reneg­ing on com­mit­ments that were part of the sale and pur­chase agree­ment. The end of the road – at least tem­po­rar­ily – came when the ad­min­is­tra­tor locked up the fac­tory in Leaeld, Ox­ford­shire and the team were un­able to ac­cess the cars.

As a re­sult, ad­viser – and de facto team boss – Colin Kolles agreed to hand the hold­ing company of the team 1MRT, which owns its F1 en­try, to the ad­min­is­tra­tor as well. With the ad­min­is­tra­tor in­sist­ing that the team’s cred­i­tors were top pri­or­ity, Cater­ham pulled out of the US GP.

Shortly after Cater­ham’s with­drawal, Marus­sia’s trad­ing company, Manor Grand Prix Ltd, also went into ad­min­is­tra­tion, with FRP Ad­vi­sory LLP tak­ing con­trol. It was widely ac­cepted over the week­end of the Rus­sian GP that the team were un­likely to make it to the US. Ru­mour had it that owner An­drey Cheglakov had kept the team go­ing only long enough to en­joy his day in the sun with Vladimir Putin in Sochi and was then go­ing to pull the plug.

Both teams are now in breach of their con­tracts, although Bernie Ec­cle­stone is said to have given them per­mis­sion to miss the two races in the Amer­i­cas in the hope they might make it to the nal race in Abu Dhabi.

If they fail to do so, and the grid drops per­ma­nently be­low 20 cars, it will trig­ger clauses in the con­tracts of some teams that could lead to third cars be­ing run in 2015. It re­mains un­clear whether three-car teams will be re­quired un­der the new Con­corde Agree­ment, but F1’s con­tracts with race pro­mot­ers tra­di­tion­ally dic­tate that the sport must sup­ply grids of at least 16 cars.

F1 boss Bernie Ec­cle­stone has claried his thoughts on third cars: “Red Bull could say to Cater­ham, you can have a car, you’ve got to run a driver of our choice in the car. You run the car. You still call it Cater­ham or what­ever, and the idea was if that team scores points then half the points should go to the team sup­ply­ing the car.”

He added that only Fer­rari, Red Bull or McLaren were per­mit­ted to sup­ply third cars.

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