Caterham F1: Takeover on cards as Caterham go into shop window

Four suitors will watch cut-down team race in Abu Dhabi as 230 staff are made redundant

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The Independent Online

The floundering Caterham team have up to four parties interested in taking them over, including one that would be a “phenomenal opportunity” if it happened, revealed the man overseeing the company’s administration, Finbarr O’Connell.

However, he also detailed the knock-on effect of the company going into administration last month when he said that 230 staff have been made redundant.  He did confirm that the team planned to race in this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with 40 people from the team going, their expenses paid with money raised through a crowd-funding initiative.

Caterham raised £1.92m of a targeted £2.35m by last Friday, with the deadline reset to midnight on Sunday.

O’Connell said the redundancies had come at the request of a majority of the staff who had wanted to start a formal claims process that takes at least a month before any payments are made, if the team is not sold.

“We are going to Abu Dhabi, racing and talking to potential buyers with meetings already arranged out there,” he said. “At the same time the claims forms will be up and running.

“A best outcome could be for staff to get redundancy, arrears of pay and then if someone comes along [and buys the team] they would get paid again.”

The staff at the Leafield factory in Oxfordshire have not been paid since September, working without pay for the past seven weeks in a bid to keep the team alive.

Rivals Marussia, who also went into administration last month, have ceased trading with some 200 staff made redundant.

Both teams missed the US and Brazilian Grands Prix, leaving a grid of just nine teams and 18 cars.

O’Connell said he had first discussed redundancy with the Caterham staff last month after they were “effectively abandoned” by entry holders 1MRT.

“They were very supportive but asked if would I agree, if the team was not sold by Friday, 14 November, to organise them to be made redundant,” he added.

The administrator said only about 17 of the 230 staff had not wanted to be made redundant and they were not members of the race team.