In a shock development, the Caterham F1 team has announced that the consortium behind the takeover of the Leafield squad has handed back control of the F1 team to the administrator of Caterham Sports Limited to allow it to prepare and continue operating at the “next events.”
The announcement comes less than 24 hours before the Caterham cars and equipment are due to be shipped to Austin Texas ahead of next week’s US Grand Prix.
The Caterham statement read: “Following a request of yesterday evening at 21.55hrs CET from Caterham Sports Limited’s administrators and the legal advisors of Mr Tony Fernandes’ related EXIM Bank, representatives of 1MRT/Caterham F1 Team have agreed, with all rights reserved, to hand-over management of the Caterham F1 Team to the adminatrator Mr Finbarr O’Connell in the higher interest of allowing the team to continue operating and preparing for the next events.”
The news is a surprise because the consortium’s adviser Colin Kolles has consistently claimed that he and his backers have no connection with Caterham Sports Limited and have legally acquired the right to run Caterham cars in the world championship.
However, Finbarr O’Connell of administrators Smith & Williamson seized control of the Leafield factory last week and refused to allow the cars to be released to the team.
It’s not clear how the administrator could run the team in Austin even if the cars and equipment were at the track.
We’ll have more on the story as it unfolds.