RAY OF LIGHT? Caterham's luck might change since some of the items seized for auction might be returned and the team's F1 cars will get new front wing to improve performance. Image: Caterham
LONDON/SUZUKA - A planned auction of Formula 1 equipment seized from the troubled Caterham team might be cancelled due to "fast moving developments", the British bailiffs who seized the items said on Thursday.
The Sheriff's Office said on its website that it was unclear whether the goods, among them a test car and parts supposedly meant for this weekend's Japanese GP,, would be sold.
No details were given, but reasons could include repayment of the judgment debt or items being taken in error from a party not involved in the dispute - as suggested in the earlier report.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
The bailiffs had seized items from Caterham's Leafield headquarters in central England on Wednesday (Oct 1), embarrassing the team and raising questions about its ability to participate in Sunday's (Oct 5) race at Suzuka.
However a team insider told Reuters that it was business as usual at Leafield on Thursday, with engineers holding a teleconference with technicians at the circuit.
A new front wing, which the team hoped would improve the car's performance in its battle to move up from last in the Constructors' championship, had already been sent to Japan by air. The only indication of anything unusual was the presence of radio and TV reporters camped outside for several hours.
"Everything ran smoothly but it was the most stressed quiet day I've had," added the employee, who asked not to be named.
Rumours began to circulate on Wednesday that the team had been forced to halt operations and shut down servers at the factory, a move that could have hampered the work of engineers in Japan even if a work-around was possible. Then the team issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the "unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours".
WAITING TO TALK
It was preparing as normal and denied the raid had anything to do with the team's new owners, who took over in July after Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes sold. The bailiffs said separately that their action had been against Caterham Sports Limited, the new owners say does not belong to them.
In a damp and overcast Suzuka, drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson said they were waiting to talk to team principal Manfredi Ravetti when he arrived there.
"I read some of the stuff and, like I said, it's a lot of speculation," Ericsson told reporters. I don't know what's true or not but for me everything has been normal on the track and we've done a normal preparation - that's what I'm focused on and all I need to care about."
Ravetto, who took over as team boss only a month earlier month when Hollander Christijan Albers stood down, was scheduled to be at a news conference at the circuit on Friday.
LIST OF ITEMS
"We are waiting to see what happens," said local hero Kobayashi, striking a more cautious tone. "I think we can still communicate with the UK so I think it looks as if the company is OK."
The list of seized items was published on the bailiffs' website and included steering-wheels, wheels and assorted pits-lane items such as jacks and starters.
The high cost of competing in F1 has hit several teams hard; Marussia and Sauber are also struggling.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Japanese GP this weekend.