The administrators Smith & Williamson have taken ownership of 1MRT and will seek a buyer for the combined Caterham F1 team and its service company Caterham Sports Limited.
According to the administrators, “this offers the ‘potential’ for a new owner of the Caterham F1 racing team to take ownership and race in the current season.”
They released the following press statement this evening:
The administrators of Caterham Sports Limited (CSL), Finbarr O’Connell and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, have agreed terms to acquire the share capital of 1MRT, the Malaysian company which holds the licence to participate in the Formula 1 World Championship.
On this basis the administrators now have the ability to sell the Caterham Formula 1 Team including the operations at Leafield, Oxfordshire.
“This includes the Formula 1 licence, the racing cars, the designs and intellectual property for current and future seasons plus the workforce and all of the technical support provided to the racing team by CSL from the Leafield Technical Centre,” explained Henry Shinners, administrator from Smith & Williamson.
He continued: “Purchasing the assets would give the buyer ready access to F1 racing.”
In a telephone conversation today between Finbarr O’Connell and Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Ecclestone agreed to support the administrators in their wish to sell the Formula 1 team to a party with the financial strength to sustain it into the future.
Mr Ecclestone also agreed to give dispensation to Caterham F1 such that it could if necessary miss the U.S. and Brazilian Grands Prix but hoped that a new owner would be in a position to race the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mr Colin Kolles, the previous principal of the team offered today to hand over management control of 1MRT to the administrators. Lawyers for the administrators and Mr Kolles are currently working on the paperwork to effect this transfer.
The administrators have already been contacted by a number of interested parties expressing a wish to buy the team and they hope that a transaction with an operator of substantial financial means can be concluded in the next few weeks.
It is hoped that any purchaser of the F1 team will take over the employees and that they will be able to recommence their work including that at the Leafield site
“We believe this arrangement gives us a much better chance of being able to reach a better conclusion for the racing team and its creditors.” Said Finbarr O’Connell.
“While this is a great step forward in making the whole team and assets more attractive, there is no need for the staff of 1MRT to return to the Oxford site in Leafield until a sale of the Formula 1 team occurs.
“This is a difficult situation which is not of our making. We regret any personal impact on 1MRT’s employees. As administrators for CSL, we are seeking to maximise the outcome for its creditors and other stakeholders.”