As it was put into administration following founder Tony Fernandes’ ill-fated sale to Colin Kolles-managed investors, the team as well as backmarker Marussia sat out Austin and will again be absent in rainy Brazil this weekend.
But it then emerged on Wednesday that Caterham’s administrators, led by Finbarr O’Connell, have lodged an official team entry for the 2015 season. Marussia, now renamed to the operating company Manor, is also on the provisional FIA entry list. But reports that Caterham and Marussia have paid the $500,000 entry fee already are wide of the mark. That fee is not due until late November.
O’Connell, however, who now runs Caterham, said it was imperative to lodge a 2015 entry so that the team is saleable. “It’s absolutely essential,” he said. “We’re hoping the new owner will then pick up things like the fees and finalizing the 2015 design.” It would also make Caterham’s life much easier if it could appear and race in Abu Dhabi, as Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA only agreed a two-race dispensation for the backmarker teams to sort their financial problems.
O’Connell said, “I think I’ve got enough confidence now to say I’d be very surprised if we were not racing in Abu Dhabi.”
A headline at Brazil’s Globo Esporte suggested Rubens Barrichello could make a “surprise return” to F1 as Caterham looks to get back up and running.
“There are a number of parties involved,” said O’Connell, “but because the financial commitments are so huge, it is difficult for people to commit. But we are making arrangements to go to there [Abu Dhabi] as we speak.”
Marussia, now Manor, has been much quieter following its slump into administration, but boss Graeme Lowdon was in Austin last weekend for meetings.
In Austin, of course, the next three endangered privateer teams Lotus, Sauber and Force India threatened to boycott the race if the sport’s owners CVC do not release more revenue.
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