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2014-12-02 09:15

ALAN BALDWIN

F1 LIFELINE: Caterham could compete in 2015 using its 2014 cars, provided a buyer helps the financially struggling team. Image: Luca Bruno

LONDON, England - Caterham will be allowed to compete in 2015 with its 2014 cars if the team can find a buyer to keep them it business.

The team's administrator, Finbarr O'Connell, said on Monday (Dec 1 2014) that the governing International Automobile Federation agreed to the dispensation during a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission.

TEAMS IN DOUBT

The decision does, however, still require ratification by the federation's World Motor Sport Council in Doha on Wednesday (Dec 3) but O'connell said: "It was proposed as something to help Caterham and Marussia but will be available to any team that applies to the federation."

Caterham is hoping to find a new owner but Marussia has ceased trading and its assets will be auctioned over December 16/17. The sale includes race cars (without engines - they've gone back to Ferrari), team trucks and race equipment and spare parts as well as corporate offices, machine shop and computer servers.

The Caterham dispensation means less immediate pressure since the team will no longer have to design and build a new car in time for the 2015 Australian GP (March 15) but O'Connell, who said in November (2014) that he hoped to secure a deal before Christmas, felt it was still important to sort out matters quickly staff were not to drift away.

He said there were "two very interested parties and a number of others who I feel are not as interested" and was encouraging them to move as quickly as possible.

Caterham, based in England and but using Renault 'power units', hasn't scored even one point in five years in the sport and was stone last in the 2014 championship.

Marussia had British driver Max Chilton and Frenchman Jules Bianchi as drivers in 2014, the latter scoring the team;s first and only points before suffering brain injuries in a crash during the Japanese F1 GP.

Bianchi remains in hospital in France in a stable but critical condition.

Caterham was founded by Malaysian AirAsia airline entrepreneur Tony Fernandes who also runs UK Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers.
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