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2014-10-02 08:44

WE'RE STILL RACING!The Caterham F1 team says it's business as usual for this weekend's 2014 Japanese GP despite rumours and visiting bailiffs.Image: AFP / Mathias Kniepeiss


LONDON, England - The Caterham Formula 1 team says it is going ahead with preparations to race in Japan this weekend despite bailiffs seizing items from its factory in central England on Wednesday (Oct 1 2014).

The troubled team issued a statement ahead of the Suzuka F1 GP that condemned "unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours concerning actions against 1MRT, the entrant and owner of CaterhamF1".


It added: "An action was threatened yesterday (Wednesday) against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of Caterham F1 or the entrant.

"Contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan."

A senior source close to the team confirmed to Reuters that bailiffs had visited the Leafield factory - and not for the first time - and denied reports that the facility or computer servers had been closed down.

The source, who did not want to be identified, added: "All this nonsense is nothing to do with the F1 team... it is 100% not related to the F1 team or any company or subsidiary of the F1 team."

A list of seized items to be sold at a public auction, likely in mid-October, appeared later on the bailiffs' website, among them a 2013 Caterham F1 'test car', steering wheels, drilling and machining equipment, wheels and assorted pits-lane items such as jacks and starters.

Car parts "due for Japan 2014" were also listed, although the race cars and main items of freight would normally have arrived in Japan some time ago with teams already setting up their garages in the paddock on Wednesday.

Caterham changed ownership in July when Malaysian Tony Fernandes sold the struggling team to an unidentified "consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors". Since then the new owners have been embroiled in legal action with about 40 ex-employees who are claiming unfair dismissal.

There have also been issues to resolve with suppliers.


Caterham, at the bottom of the championship standings without a point scored, said in a statement in July 2014 that the peiople in question had been employed by a supplier rather than by the F1 team itself.

The team's Leafield site was previously used by Super Aguri and Arrows, two now-defunct F1 teams that collapsed due to financial problems.

Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Sweden's Marcus Ericsson are Caterham's current drivers, with Spaniard Roberto Merhi due to take part in Friday first practice at Suzuka.

Team principal Manfredi Ravetto was quoted this week as saying Caterham planned to take a new front wing to Suzuka that should make its cars far more competitive. He also told autosport.com that work on the 2015 car was proceeding in a Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany, despite the team having to contend with "surprises" inherited from the previous owners.

"In this team, the surprises never end," he said. "If we keep having 10 surprises a day then we have to keep doing 10 miracles per day. My concern is: What happens when we run out of miracles?"

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Japanese GP this weekend.

Read more on:    caterham  |  kamui kobayashi  |  motorsport  |  formula 1

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