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Caterham set to miss US and Brazilian GPs
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  24 Oct 2014   |  6:24 pm GMT  |  82 comments

Caterham are set to miss the US and Brazilian Grands Prix after the administrators now running the squad revealed that Bernie Ecclestone has given permission for it to sit out the next two rounds of the F1 championship.

This morning the management team led by Colin Kolles stepped back from running the team and handed control to administrators at London-based accountancy firm Smith & Williamson. This afternoon the firm confirmed that the team has now been given “dispensation” to miss the next two grands prix while a buyer is sought.

The statement read: “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 One 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 US 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 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 they will be able to recommence their work including that at the Leafield site.”

While the absence of the team in Austin and Sao Paulo is a blow, the fact that the F1 team joins Caterham Sports Limited in the hands of the administrators might add to the possibility of a sale, with the package of the team and CSL representing a clear path to the F1 grid to a potential buyer.

In its statement Smith & Williamson said: “On this basis the administrators now have the ability to sell the Caterham Formula 1 Team including the operations at Leafield, Oxfordshire.”

Another administrator at the firm, Henry Shinners added: “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.

“Purchasing the assets would give the buyer ready access to F1 racing.”

Finbarr O’Connell, the S&W administrator now in charge of Caterham appeared to confirm that the team will not race at the Circuit of the Americas or in Interlagos by saying: “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.

“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 One 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.”

O’Connell added, however, that he believes a sale is possible in the timescale provided.

“Our objective is to get this team racing on a proper financial standing, and hopefully if a funder comes through, this team can run again,” he said. “I have spoken to people who are interested in taking over the Leafield factory, and the staff being employed there.

“It’s early days, but there is a major hope that all of that can happen.”



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Good riddance to trash F1 teams, it is not 1992 anymore.


If, next year, Marussia, Caterham and Sauber are out, that’s 16 cars, with at least 4 grid positions, if not 6, to make up. So, would that be Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams (if they beat Ferrari into 3rd) running third cars?

Still, might mean Button gets another year in F1 with a top team, and that Hulk and co might get a go too.

Would the 3rd car be excluded from the constructors?


After much consideration it appears that the inexorable march downmarket, desperately trying to be both smart and relevant in todays hypermarket of motorsport, the whole essence of F1 seems to be decidedly declining into a form of controlled chaos sans excitement.

there are just so many things amiss that it is beyond even most fans/ followers to encapsulate just where to start a rejuvenation if that is what is needed. IMO there are many factors that are now converging that it will be most difficult to get the show back on the road…in a manner of speaking.

it is all too easy to be critical and blame just one person but it has to be noted here that that one person can only influence so much before it all backfires. ultimately authority is only effective when power is granted to wield that power. the withdrawal of that element of authority will always change the way that the enterprise is managed, if and when that authority is withdrawn.

F1 will not collapse. there are too many vested interests at play for that to happen wilfully. it may well contract though and with that contraction there will need to be changes made. we are witnessing a watershed moment and what happens as a result will have a long term effect. it is a pity that this has come to pass but then again it is events like this that cause the people running the show to seriously look back and then forward to see where the future lies.

in the short term, either 3 car teams or the supply of customer cars. i would go with the latter first and see where that leads.


BBC and Autosport now reporting that Bernie has stated that neither Caterham or Marussia will be at Austin.

Clearly this is the beginning of the end for these two teams without a serious injection of cash and techincal expertise. Surely Sauber and/or Lotus will be next ?

How can the organisers of one of the richest sports in the world allow this to happen ?

It’s incompetence on a grand scale.

A F1 race with only 18 cars on the grid is pathetic but the result is that FOM simply cannot afford to lose another team over the winter.

Bernie will have to put his hands into the FOM pocket and pull out a shedful of cash.


@ monza 71….i am interested to know why you think that a race with only eighteen cars will be pathetic? did the last four cars make any difference to the racing? did they influence the outcome? does the term ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ mean anything to you?


It’s pathetic that a billion dollar a year sport can only field 18 cars in what is, for the sponsors, the most important shop window in the world.

The news that two teams have gone bust in the very week before the event will guarantee that the publicity in the run up to the race will be at least in part, negative.

Almost as big an own goal as the 2005 race which killed of F1 racing at Indy.


I really like to see how drivers in the twitchy cars that are not that well sorted have a ride on the razor’s edge. I think it’s much more exciting that watching shots from drivers in cars that run on rails. This is why I will miss the Caterhams and Marussias and the chance to see some onboard laps with their drivers. I also have a soft spot for underdogs. Will it make a difference? For me it will.

It’s a pity that the TV directors prefer to show lonely cars running in the front than two backmarkers having a close fight, and it’s a nail in their coffin, because they don’t get the TV coverage the need to keep the sponsors happy, even though they’re racing as hard as anyone else.


I’ve only read a few things about this but would seem to me that you’d have to be crazy to spend money on buying Caterham.

How could you trust what you’re getting, when the business is so split. It seems like a shell company with the money being funneled off to another company that has the best slices of the assets, while the shell ends up with huge debts and little else.

I know I haven’t used the correct terminology but i’d imagine this is why Bernie nor anyone else is in a rush to throw money into Caterham functioning in its current form. And I imagine that’s why the Administrator has had little choice but to hurry and salvage whatever money they can get.


And now Marussia are going to miss the US GP.

Maybe 3 car teams is going to happen sooner rather than later.


First off, all this mumbo-jumbo about sitting out 2 races is only the on-deck Orchaestra playing a waltz while the Titanic sinks.

Make no mistake, Caterham is toast.

Allocation of race proceeds to the privileged few at the top of the pecking order who need the bulk of the F1 Circus funding to stay up on the grid where their international market can see them, ensures that the likes of Caterham will not ever be in a position to dim their spotlight.

F1 is now really nothing more than a desperate parade of sponsors. There’s no real racing any more. You get a couple of frantic opening laps and then it’s all handed over to Pirelli and we wait around an hour and a half for the last few laps to see if any parts of the procession come together in the closing stages. They call it strategy. This year’s contest has boiled down to a juvenile soap opera played out between two drivers on the same team. The reality of that situation, is that the F1 fan base will simply shrink to the point where network coverage will be thanked for not letting cameras pan the grandstands.

Unequal team financial support from the top.

Pay drivers.

Hybrid cars.

A penalty/rule system so vast it neuters almost every aspect of racing.

Formula 1 has descended so far, in such a short period of time, there is very likely no chance of rescuing it from the architects of its own demise. A diminutive batch of 20 cars in Texas, only a half dozen of them competitive, so quiet they’ll likely be drowned out by the coyotes, will no doubt prove to the big boys in the USA that promoting anything more in terms of F1 in that country beyond 2014 is far too risky for any investors.


Hmmm – rough guess your not a fan?


For the credibility of the sport it’s better that those teams retire.Without 3 cars for healthy teams F1 is forced to unfairly help them secretly in some way because we can’t have races with 10 cars.


Anyone else suspect that one of the next two races will turn out to be a crazy race where a small team has a great chance of scoring points?


With Brazil’s weather and fresh pavement it could be interesting. Austin looks like it will be sunny and warm, so not much chance of chaos. Abu Dhabi is likely to just be boring


Tips for finding a real buyer for Caterham:

1. Make sure they have money to run the team properly without the need for quick fixes.

2. Make sure that they haven’t changed their name/address/accounts/CEO multiple times in the last few years.

3. Make sure they’re committed to making it work and that they’re not just in it to live out a childhood dream of the CEO (looking at you Tony).

I just hope that if this thing goes through that the new owners will be allowed to rename the team – They really do need a fresh start without the baggage.

And for all the doubters, it wouldn’t be the first time a hopelessly struggling team has risen from the ashes with the help of people who actually know what the hell they’re doing.

If nothing else, fingers crossed for the employees.


Make sure Colles not involved in it


and . . .

4. Make sure they dealing with an umbrella organisation that believes in transparency and doesn’t operate on a ‘divide-and-rule’ basis.

I guess that rules out F1.


It does indeed.


@ random 79….in all truth answer me this……will the absence of caterham at the next two GP’s make one iota of difference to the weekends racing? it will mean absolutely zippedy doo dah in realistic terms and the only way people will react is to the discussion points made by the commentators and their wild speculation!!!! if no one actually mentioned it it is my guess that most people would not even be aware that they had disappeared.


Doubtful – They’ll be missed just about as much as everyone misses HRT (which so far as I can tell is not at all) but I still think it’s a bit of a shame every time one of these little teams die a slow sad death.

Marussia I would actually miss – Yes they struggle, but they actually remind me a bit of Minardi in that they seem to be a proper race team with a lot of really good people. I think that if they had some decent cash going their way they’d do alright.


@ random 79…..’ditto’ marussia!!!!!!


Marussia in a league of thier own then, not much point them taking part without caterhams


Hi James,

There are a few reports going around about Marussia also floundering, though not as publicly as Caterham. It is being reported that Marussia has an overdue payment to Ferrari for the engines/gearboxes as well as the owner looking to sell the team.

I assume that you haven’t reported on it as it may be unsubstantiated, but any insight would be awesome.

In reality, the points they’ve gained should be reason enough for Marussia to get some more cash however, the state of play is hard for an outsider to figure out.

Look forward to your insights!


Slightly off-topics. There are serious rumors that Audi is considering F1 and that they have already started working on the engine and this is the reason why they hired Domenicali. Any truth in this?


Cant see it myself VW group have lamented F1 a number of times in the past


I started to have a room-spin after reading this article!



What, to you, constitutes a “serious” rumour?


I wouldn’t say serious rumours, but its said vw/Porsche want Audi out after dominating for 15 years and its damaging its other brands and want them to move up to f1 and Alonso is wanting a 1 year contract because of it. No chance of them buying Caterham though, unless Alonso and domenicali do a brawn for one year and sell it on, but with the look of teams failing, there will be space and Audi would be better off buying suaber just because the bmw facilities they have.


James – a rather pointed tone!


My Google news alerts sent this article my way this morning: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/audi/89171/audi-to-join-f1-in-2016


Good. Hope Marussia go next, although I do like Graeme Lowdon and John Booth. With Caterham and Marussia, it’s like having a B-class in the sport.

The only bad part is for the employees. The team themselves won’t be missed by many.


Okay Honda and McLaren here’s your chance to purchase a “junior” team!



It would throw a lifeline to a talented Japanese driver.

And didn’t Super Aguri used to be in Leafield?


I’d imagine this would make a lot of sense for Honda – if only to get more mileage and data from its engines next year…


They have the dyno data from Mercedes to compare with as McLaren would of had such for designing this years car. Honda knows what every other manufacturer didn’t one year ago. They wont need a team or the destraction of all the left over legal wrangles from the take over because I doubt Caterham will come with a clean bank balance, people still will want the bills paying. It does have a chance of being sold if the debts outway the entrance fee that was paid, unless that was refunded? Its really a case of what capital is in Caterham and lets not forget, they was the least successful of the 3 new teams regarding results.


Why would they want a bad chassis designed for a rival engine and gearbox with minimal staff and limited facilities?


It’d not be all that hard to make it easier for F1 teams to compete: Just hand them a bigger share of F1 earnings. Most sports leagues out there are nothing more than a small non-profit shell, controlled by the teams themselves, so the issue is just to divide the pie between team owners and team employees.

F1takes a slice, then the teams try to take a slice, and only then mechanics, engineers and pilots take a slice. We all know race organizers are unprofitable in almost every case, and when they are not, Bernie just asks for more money. It’s just an economic model that does not lead to an extremely good product, and it shows.


In any business to keep a sustainable growth one needs to get rid of ‘bad assets’, so with all my (as an armchair expert) sincere respect to backmarker teams (Caterham, Marussia, and likely Sauber), F1 would’ve been better off next year without them. They had had been granted more than 3 years to prove their sustainability but unfortunately have failed. From sporting perspective we didn’t see any considerable achievements over the last years but crashes on the track. Better to recognize defeat and quit without compunction rather than keep being popular ridicule.

Anyway I believe Haas F1 will do better as the owner likely knows what he is doing.


“They had had been granted more than 3 years to prove their sustainability but unfortunately have failed”

Give Toro Rosso a call, they might have a job for you…

Christopher Cathles

Sarvar – “They had had been granted more than 3 years to prove their sustainability but unfortunately have failed”

Nevertheless, all are well within the 107%. It’s been a long time since we’ve had DNQ’s (did not qualify)

Credit where credit is due……….


‘HRT, two years ago’ is a long time..?


I would never compare Sauber to Caterham


As many people will care for Sauber’s collapse as they did for Minardi’s. But alas, the feelings of the fans have no impact for the business makers.


Sauber are on the ropes financially, Monica has admitted as much publicly. So from a financial and sustainability perspective, they can be very much compared…one just has a lot more history. First will go Caterham, and no one will care. Then Marussia, and few will care. And then will go Sauber…and more will care, but by that time we will be a three or four car teams, Bernie will have his “luxury goods brands Grand Prix”, and F1 history as we know it will forever be gone.

As will the core fans, increasingly.


I love the ramblings of armchair CEOs. The economicist in me smiles.

A “bad asset” would be one that does not return a fair rate of return for the amount invested in it. And that is the rub – F1 has invested NOTHING in Caterham! And yet, Caterham has provided a return by fleshing out the grid slots needed to give the public a show that comprises more than 22 cars on the grid. It has given the many KK fans a venue for watching their favourite driver. It has given the Japanese fans a way to see one of their own on the track. And it has given anyone that likes classic British racing green circling the track on a British sports car named team happy. That isn’t a bad thing – and remember, this comes from NO investment from F1 itself…so as an “asset”, you would have to say that Caterham are OVERPERFORMING, in the truest economic terms.

Are they fast? No. But earlier today someone posted a link to the 1992 British GP (won by Mansell), and I was looking at the results. The bottom teams were finishing 3 and 4 laps down on the leaders, even then. And that was not even counting the huge number of cars that didn’t finish due to mechanical issues. So..in historical terms, is Caterham even performing badly, for back markers?

Any objective analysis would say they are not…they are doing the same thing that all back markers do, and not really any more slower or worse.

So, in a business analysis, you have to say that Caterham are actually pretty GREAT value for money for F1 as a show – minimal investment, some positive return as mentioned above.

As for Haas, it will not be if he “knows what he is doing”, it will be “are his pockets deep enough to personally underwrite the X years of losses he will take before he begins to get WCC prize money”. That is the ONLY factor…because with money there is a fair amount of engineering talent to be hired from established teams, and technology to buy from Ferrari and McLaren. IF you have the money. I suspect that with a billion dollar business behind him, plus Ferrari’s help, he can make a go of it. (Ferrari need a US team to succeed to get F1 more media exposure in the US, their largest market).

To your point about popular ridicule, I have never ridiculed Caterham – for two reasons. One is that entering F1 and actually getting cars on the track, with drivers in them, is REALLY REALLY HARD. They did it, and they lasted longer than HRT. Secondly, I still covet a real Caterham 500 Lightweight 😉 (and yes I know that has ZERO to do with the team!)


Do you think a billion dollar a year business is enough to make it in F1 these days? And by make it, I mean from scratch to get in midfield?? Not sure myself !!


Good post Robert. It must be noted also that Tony Fernandes felt cheated because when he started the team there was much promise about cost cutting and budgets which did not really eventuate. Further there was some discussion that all 11 teams would share in the earnings should cost controls not come in but that was promptly nipped in bud by Bernie. The “economics” of F1 are wholly and solely focused around lining the pockets of the commercially rights holders in a very controlled old school way of one on one negotiation. There needs to be a far broader and sustainable way for individual racing teams to compete and that wont happen till Bernie disappears.

F1 is an elitist sport in every way and unless you are a money factory like Mercedes Benz,

Ferrari or Red Bull you are always living on the edge of your funding- thats all the current management want which is really sad because I would much prefer to see many different teams racing than 4 ir 5 “brands”. The true economists would rightly say that all 11 teams are contributing to the “market place” that is F1 but only10 are receiving earnings for that contribition- even then Ferrari probably receive more than 6 of those ten teams combined and if only they allowed 1/10 of this money to a small team like caterham- we probably would not be having this discussion.further 1/10 is probably 1/10 again of the profits gone into CVC’s or Bernies pocket in some way also!


Vanity/Ambition is common for some ultra rich people and even Sir R. Branson with Marussia (ex Virgin) realized that F1 is a serious business but not show-off, so Mr. Fernandes could have more reputation as a team sponsor (through his Air Asia) rather than the one he has now after all these stories with Caterham.


So, no doubt about who is in charge of F1 then and it’s certainly no the FIA!

The obligation to turn up to all races is in part of the application for the entry.

Sporting regs 13.2

f) An undertaking by the applicant to participate in every Event with the number of cars and drivers entered.


This rule only specifies ‘and undertaking’ not an obligation.

The Concorde agreement between the FIA and F1 Group states that a team that has failed to participate in more than three events in the same FIA F1 Championship it is considered to have withdrawn from the championship.

Again, bernie is making out that he is being nice about this, but he is only doing what he is contractually obliged to do….


I think it is three races.


Bernie isn’t really oiling any machinery, or doing any favours.

Under the rules, the teams are allowed to miss 2 GPs in a season and still carry a valid entry. It is what he has to do.


They won’t be missed. Ever since they got rid of heikki for worse paying drivers I’ve disliked them.


Clearly that was a decision borne of necessity rather than greed.


Bernie oiled the machinery . . .


Actually it would appear the administrator realised the slots were at risk after a few nights reading the rules, figured that’s all the money its worth right there and made a call.

Obviously completely trusting BE in a ‘phone call’ to not do what’s best for BE and F1 suggests this is not the company to contact for any future teams that may be in trouble.

BE is clearly far sharper than they are and I kind of wonder how long the grid slots will remain with the Caterham entity (whatever that is at the moment…)


Why first the new US GP team buy it?


So, Caterham will miss two races, but will anyone notice they’ve missed two races?


Yet Chilton likely won’t jump over Ericsson in the standings. Doesn’t really seem right.




Not likely. They’re not going to be there either.


Most of the drivers will notice that they have a couple less cars to lap 🙂


“Our objective is to get this team racing on a proper financial standing”

Excellent news. Maybe once they’ve finished with Caterham, they can do the same for the rest of the F1 teams!

Though I have a feeling they might need to ‘administrate’ Bernie and CVC for that to happen…


Goodbye Caterham! You tried!


and marussia.


Why Marussia? They are about to come 9th.

Prost was a complete shut down.


Marussia wont be far behind it seems…


Here’s what I would wish for in regards to teams at the back of the grid…

The “Junior Team” Proposal

1. First year allow for year old chasis.

2. Second year mandatory completely new chasis.

3. Junior teams are not allowed to run the same power unit for more than three years.

4. Performance criteria for new manufacturer to meet for second and third year supply of engines.

5. Minimum 3 year cycle for any team wishing to buy and then sell a “junior” team.

Their is an the opportunity with these criteria to tweak the engine rule regulations such that each manufacturer could run an A and B spec engine. Doing so would allow for a B spec engine to be completely redesigned for year one of running and then run for one to three years with a junior team before switching the B spec engine to the “senior” team.

This would encourage teams aligned with engine manufacturers to purchase “junior” teams as a way to unfreeze their engine design departments and spend time developing their power units with the junior team. Once the B spec engine is transferred to the senior team the “junior” team must run a different spec power unit. This would require that the engine manufacturer produce a brand new spec engine or that the “junior” team must seek out a new engine supplier.

I believe doing something like this would make me take notice of the junior teams and give them a shot at being competitive against the more established teams.


And failed………………….big time.

Oh well, Hispania, Toyota, Pacific, Simtek, Brabham, Forti, Lola, Caterham…………………….Sauber???


I know the history of F1 but from a owners point of view they folded except brawn who made out like a bandit BAR and jaguar are pretty decect failures.


Depends what you mean by failed. The whole idea of the F1 team was to create publicity for the Caterham brand, and I’ve never seen so much media coverage over Caterham as in the last few days.


@Balsac. BAR became Honda, which became brawn and now Mercedes. Stewart became Jaguar and now RBR.

@ Gaz Boy. What about Super Aguti??


Toyota didn’t fold. It withdrew. Toyota could have continued if it wished. Same with Honda.

Arrows should be on your list as well.

In response to Balsac, Stewart became Jaguar which became Red Bull. I think.


Uhm, Rodger T, Stewart and Jaguar were the same team and they became Red Bull Racing. I think that team is very much alive and doing fairly well!


Balsac says:

October 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

BAR ,Jaguar, Stewart and brawn

BAR and Brawn are both former ghosts of Mercedes, Stewart became Jaguar, then Red Bull. Both have won multiple world championships (or will at the end of this season) and exist as top teams. Even if in their present forms they have different owners and names, the previous teams were sufficiently good enough to build from. These certainly aren’t “big time failures,” especially Brawn, which won a world championship. I seriously doubt Caterham’s future looks this good.


I think Pkara was referring to Super Aguri.

Rodrigo Luiz Martins

Brabham ?Sorry but they were out of the business because Bernie was busy with Formula 1 and put the team aside.


BAR ,Jaguar, Stewart and brawn


@Pkara, Spyker became Force India.


Someone, put together a graphic with tombstones for those teams that folded.



You forgot Spyker 😉

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