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F1 dragged back to the world of angry creditors and bailiffs

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F1 dragged back to the world of angry creditors and bailiffs
Oct 1, 2014, 11:44 PM

Many Formula 1 teams have gone by the wayside in the last 20 years amid bailiffs and angry creditors and tonight F1 was again dragged down into tha...

Many Formula 1 teams have gone by the wayside in the last 20 years amid bailiffs and angry creditors and tonight F1 was again dragged down into that territory with news that the Caterham F1 team factory in Leafield near Oxford has had a series of visits from bailiffs, supported by Thames Valley Police.

The Leafield site has some form in this area; it was formerly the home of Arrows and Super Aguri F1 teams, both of which ran into financial difficulties and closed.

A number of items were taken by bailiffs, according to Reuters, "A list of seized items to be sold at a public auction, likely in mid-October, appeared later on the bailiffs' website (www.thesheriffsoffice.com).

"They included a 2013 Caterham F1 'test car', steering wheels, drilling and machining equipment, wheels and assorted pit lane items such as jacks and starters."

However Caterham's new management issued an angrily-worded statement to the effect that the action by bailiffs has nothing to do with the F1 team, it relates to another company which is not owned by Caterham's parent company 1MRT.

"An action was threatened yesterday against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of CaterhamF1 or the entrant," it said.

The statement goes on to say that the F1 team over in Suzuka, Japan will be racing this weekend as planned.

Sources close to the team say that the team members were paid yesterday, on schedule.

Caterham's ability to participate in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix will also depend on whether the servers are all still running at the Leafield factory. Sources with knowledge of the team's operations suggest that without the servers operational the cars will not be able to run.

Reuters quotes a team source saying Wednesday night that the servers are currently operational.

This latest news comes against the backdrop of a fresh push by Bernie Ecclestone to introduce three car teams in the face of expected financial troubles for a number the weakest of the current teams on the grid.

F1 teams share an annual prize fund of over $750 million, but the distribution is heavily weighted towards the top five teams.

Caterham was set up in 2010 by Tony Fernandes, together with his Malaysian business partners and technical director Mike Gascoyne. After five years in F1 it has yet to score a point and Fernandes pulled the plug in July, passing the team onto a mysterious consortium represented by Colin Kolles.

Colin Kolles

Kolles, who went in to try to rescue HRT shortly before it closed in 2011, has been trying to get an entry to F1 for a new Romanian team Forza Rossa, as part of the same bidding process which has yielded the Haas f1 team due to enter in 2016.

In June this year it was suggested that Kolles had a letter of approval from the FIA to make the entry. The plan has backing from former Romanian health minister Ion Bazac, a Ferrari importer.

How the current situation around Caterham and the Forza Rossa project dovetail, if at all, time will tell.

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