Hope vs Glory?
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“Never give up”: Caterham and former Marussia F1 teams still hoping for F1 reprieve
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Dec 2014   |  5:02 pm GMT  |  90 comments

Despite some very difficult circumstances, both the administrators of Caterham and the people behind the Marussia team are still hopeful of continuing in F1 next season. So do they have any chance?

Marussia missed the final three races of the season, having tried to get to Abu Dhabi, while Caterham made it thanks to raising over £2 million including £500,000 in driver and sponsorship income and and took part to showcase the team to potential buyers.

A few weeks on, where are the two teams now and what hope do they have?

One of the administrators of Caterham, Henry Shinners, told the BBC this week that the administrators want to give the team every chance of surviving so are not setting a deadline, a letter has gone out to all creditors of Caterham Sports calling them to vote in a meeting on December 22 on the administrators’ proposals. This can be done in person or by proxy.

The administrators are still working to sell the team; they believe that the recent permission to run year old power units will help the cause, opening up other options. A supply of Renault 2014 power units was in excess of $22 million this season.

Lead administrator Finbarr O’Connell said the dispensation, backed by the other F1 teams, is “of interest to all the parties I’m talking to. It gives them a choice, an easier start to get into F1.”

Caterham’s 230 staff have been made redundant and the longer time goes on without a sale, the more difficult it will be to recruit staff, with former staff finding new jobs elsewhere.

Meanwhile Marussia has gone into liquidation and the assets are to be sold off in an auction at the teams former Banbury headquarters ‘s December 16 and 17. Among the lots are the cars, the transporters, the machine shop, servers and test lab.

Marussia Auction

Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowden was at the Autosport Awards last Sunday and said that he is still hopeful of the phoenix rising from the ashes, with a 2015 car having been designed despite the problems. And the team has an entry, as things stand, under the banner of Manor Grand Prix.

Lowden said that they had moved “heaven and earth” to make it to Abu Dhabi for the final race, falling short for financial reasons, but their failure to do so had not impacted the 2015 design process nor had it endangered their right to the 2014 prize money, as long as the team makes its appearance on the 2015 grid.

The sale of the assets means that they would have to find new equipment and transporters, but it does not necessarily spell the end as far as Lowden is concerned.

The teams were present at the most recent round of team meetings regarding funding and another meeting, at which Bernie Ecclestone and CVC’s Donald Mackenzie will be present, is scheduled to take place on December 18. McLaren boss Ron Dennis, whose team would be required to supply a third car if the numbers on the grid drop to 16 or less, has said that he is minded to help the struggling teams, rather than go the third car route. His view is shared by many, but not all, his peers.

But whether that largesse extends to the two teams that fell off the perch in 2014 is not clear.

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The Cheese Fell off the Cracker where Graeme Lowdon is concerned. If it wasn’t for the likes of him, Booth and Webb and their greed, Marussia would have been sold several times of the past couple of years.

What utter utter stupid remarks from the man about making the grid in 2015. With what, no staff, no assets and no money. Most of the prize money from Monaco was due to be diverted directly to Ferrari to cover the unpaid bills…


James is there any truth in the runours of Landrover entering F1? could they be one of the interestd teams in Caterham or even Manor


In my view Caterham and Marussia are gone, They, along with HRT, were lured into F1 on the promise of a budget cut which never came and, without it, they were never going to be competitive. What I believe they should have done (or been able to do, I’m not sure of the legalities) is sued CVC, the FIA and Bernie for misleading them as soon as it became apparent that the budget limit was never going to happen. Maybe that wasn’t possible, I don’t know what “behind closed doors” agreements were made but because they instead tried to soldier on they never had a chance. And before anyone says anything about survival of the fittest please ask yourself if these small teams would ever have been there if they hadn’t been lied to. And then consider how many teams are really looking like they can make it for the long haul. If Red Bull lose interest and a few others don’t have a major up-turn in their finances we’ll be watching Ferrari, McLaren (neither having built a decent car for a few years) battling over who comes last behind Mercedes. Right up until Mercedes decide they have proved all they need to and pull out as well.


I don’t think they’d have had a leg to stand on, because most of their deals came through Max not Bernie, who has always been hard on the new teams and thought they were bad for the show.


@ peter miles….IMO the bottom three teams did not successfully complete their due diligence. if they had then they would not be in this position. to base any forward business plan on what ‘may’ happen vis-a-vis a budget cap is simply naive and unacceptable.

to make any sense they should’ve sighted a signed and sealed agreement before deciding to be a party to the F1 circus. only then would any sensible businessman move forward. they are, once again, IMO, totally responsible for their own demise. forward estimates of proposed engine/PU costs would also have to be established and this should’ve alerted them to any major shortfalls.

for the teams and their supporters to claim that they were duped is a weak argument. they failed because they were always going to fail. business is sometimes a gamble on what the future might hold and like all forms of gambling, don’t cry if you lose your shirt!!!


Really? There is currently an online auction of Marussia’s equipment, including lots of excellent memorabilia such as car parts.

This auction would suggest they are not coming back in my eyes.


Also, their staff have all been made redundant


Thing is. When you look at the assets in the Marussia auction. There is not much actually there for building the car components. Looks like they just subbed out all that and only designed and assembled the finished article. Any machine tools listed are for protoyype work only..

I had assumed Caterham are very different (and a more solid cost requirement).

Haas = You don’t need the costs of F1 to promote a machine tool brand, all the others (machine tool companies) don’t. Quickest way to lose your shirt. or like old Tom, get so hooked on it you hock all your business interests to fund it, until it all caves in on you (and hundreds of bods out of work).


There is one answer.

Merge the two teams of Caterham and Marussia. If Marussia are that advanced on their 2015 car as they say they are then that’s something Caterham could use. Caterham will still have their equipment which Marussia will not.

If they can do what F1 does best in finding loopholes, then perhaps they could field the team as Manor GP and be entitled to Marussia’s 2014 prize money. Chilton gets daddy to write some big cheques to get him into one seat and if Gutierrez still has his big budget then get him in to the other car. You can’t be thinking about employing genuine talent when you’re at this level.

It’s the only realistic way i can see either team surviving, plus future investors may be more likely to jump in.


It’s a nice idea, but in truth two weak teams with poor business models will not add up to a strong team. The only way Caterham will survive is with new investors, new management and a new business model. Marussia is dead and gone, it’s assets are on the auction block, and the only good that can come out of that is if another team or a start up can make use of their equipment and resources at bargain prices.




Bit off-topic. Watching some of the older races now and today is Bahrain. Do you remember how Maldonado flipped Esteban coming out of the pits?! I am thinking about all the crashes and accidents that he was involved…mostly causing them….it is unbelievable that he is in F1. It is certainly all down to his money, there can’t be anything else. The guy is as dangerous as having a tractor on the track when the racing is on (reminiscent of Bianchi’s crash). Get him out of F1 for the sake of safety of everybody else!


How he won that day in Barcelona is still a mystery to me.

Maybe he is the one driver that has a twin brother and not the drivers Montezemolo was referring to over the last few years.


Yeah, but then the obvious question is why don’t they get the twin to drive more often? 😉


True, but frankly by now everyone else should know to steer clear of him.

Santa's Little Helper

I think the demise of these two teams is super. I’m a big fan if the 3 car idea and am rooting for maybe a Sauber, Force India and/or Lotus collapse to catalyse a third Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren.

Like MotoGP, we’d have a core set of factory teams and a set of satellite customer teams.

I think it’d work well and help lower costs for the teams that want to just race and for the teams that get the marketing benefits from constructing cars they can keep on the spending war.

Yes, yes. But then we’d have three Merc’s in the top 3!!! Nah, it doesn’t work like that. Don’t be so short sighted. We’d have more quality cars on the grid and the Satelitte teams would keep the factory teams honest.


You need long term planning, plenty of money, and lots of resources to run any team/car in any form of motorsport, let alone in Formula 1. In the V8 Supercars series in Australia, there is the possibility of two young future stars of the sport, Nick Percat and Scott Pye not being on the grid despite proving themselves to be very fast due to a lack of financial backing, or because a key backer pulled out. It is hard to survive if you don’t have money/resources/planning in any sport.

Caterham and Marussia have little to no chance of survival.


They won’t find investors. The oil falling to $55 or less signals financial and real economy recession(it’s always been like that,when the oil demand falls the economy follows ). Plus both the USA and Russia have a banking crisis ready to explode because much of their liquidity has fueled the oil bubble. It was the subprime mortgages in 2007/2008 and it’s the oil bubble in 2015. $550bn have been pumped to fuel this new bubble by the Federal Reserve and every 7 or 8 years it bursts. In 2000 there was the internet companies bubble. Investors will not waste money on F1 backmarker teams with this future.

Santa's Little Helper

They should prey on the Hollywood types who’ve more money than “cents”. Two notable examples, Paris Hilton getting into MotoGP ownership. Leonardo Di Caprio getting into Formula E ownership.

These wannabe’s with God complexes will part with tons of dosh if propositioned to them either as, a) a leading research test bed for tech that’ll save our climate and thus the world as we know it, or b) will increase their edgy profile and lead to more kudos in the inner circles of Hollywood so they can play with Will Smith, Oprah, Jay Z and Tom Cruise.

They either do that, or keep buying African kids.

Someone should contact Brad Pitt. He likes the environment and seems bored and dopey enough to part with 100mil to save the world via F1’s hybrid engines. You can see it now, “Pitt.Jolie-Sauber Ferrari F1 Team”.



$100mil would probably be close to wiping out the average big Hollywood celebrity, while you apparently need $300mil to maintain two cars for an F1 season.


Even if the smaller teams survive for another season, gone are the days of high attrition allowing the minnows to sneak through into the points or even a podium… Modern F1 cars are just too damn reliable. If only engines were needed to last just 1 weekend and weren’t rev-limited….


Yep, the old McLarens from 10 or 12 years ago were classics: Sit still for 20 seconds and bang! 🙂


Probably one of the hold outs for helping the teams is RB…


RB already have RBR and TR.

Even if DM was interested it would just be another step from turning F1 into RB1.


Good point.


We’d better hope Red Bull don’t get bored of F1 anytime soon, if they do we drop another four cars plus a grand prix…


just what is the point of it all? marussia are being sold off as a discontinued line. caterham are trying to find a buyer with the proposition of racing with outdated engines. considering the upgrades to the engines for next year then they will be even further behind than ever.

it’s like an orchard in drought….fruitless!!!!!


I don’t think it’s fair to point the finger at the top teams, they will always disagree in order to take a stab at each other. The main culprit in all this is the dictator himself. How much does Bernie cream from the kitty each year. (probably enough to run at least 2 lower grid teams).

I know everyone might think that it’s only the top of the grid that is important. But if we lose the lower teams we will get what WRC went through a few years back where there were only a few manufacturers. Picture the U.S. Grand Prix of 2005.

Enjoy dipping into the prize money then Bernie!

If you want the sport to be healthy, you’ll have to contribute. And selling the TV rights to networks which charge in order to line your pockets doesn’t count.


Two hopes

1 Bob

2. no hope.


I’m not so sure about Bob…


At this point Bob’s more alive than Caterham and Marussia.


I thought Bob was dead, or is he still playing golf? 🙂


Why is McLaren required to supply a third car if numbers drop below 16?

I don’t remember reading this before!



The exact details of which teams supply a third car [should the grid fall below 16 cars] are secret. But it’s to do with the bi-lateral agreements Bernie struck with all the teams in place of the old Concorde agreement. Bernie needs to ensure that at least 16 cars are on the grid for each race or he could potentially be in breach of the contract he has with the FIA for broadcasting rights for the next 100 years. If that happens, the golden goose will stop laying golden eggs and a there will be some very long faces in the offices of some very wealthy people all round the world.


Because Bernie is a Secret Squirrel and there may be other stuff in his ‘agreements’ that we don’t know about!


Bernie could bankroll both teams from his loose change!


From the outside looking in the solution looks very simple, build standardised parts that no one cares about that all teams use like suspension, brakes etc, help keep costs to a minimum. Im sure that there are hundreds of parts that could be standardised to at least allow low budgets teams to not only survive but to also close the gap on the top teams, do certain top team bosses not care about not just the teams but the people working for them, the FIA need to get to grips with this and shake things up, maybe Jean Todt should stop being such a wet blanket and step up to the plate and dictate how to cut costs.


The FIA cannot get to grips because like Esau in Genesis (not the Phil Collins one) they have sold their birthright (to Bernie) for a mess of pottage!

Santa's Little Helper

No one wants a spec series for F1. There has to be a prototype constructor battle too. The key is transitioning to a MotoGP model… My comment below.


I’m not asking for a spec series, but there has to be a way of limiting costs, it can’t be that difficult… can it??


If one of them makes it, is there a chance that McLaren will try to find a seat for Magnussen?


Hell Richard, they can just buy a seat for him at auction 😀


I do not understand Lowdens comments. The factory is in peices and will be spread around the country this time next week. The 2015 car was 2 months behind schedule when staff were booted out at the beginning of November so there is no chance of making the first GP unless they use this years car.


“The factory is in peices and will be spread around the country this time next week”

So it’s simple: Lowden should pretend that the pieces of the Marussia team are Pokemon.

Gotta catch them all!


Off topic, but well done to Sebastian Buemi winning Formula E in sunny Uruguay! JE Vergne drove well, pity his car failed when he was challenging for the lead with a couple of laps to go. Don’t like the low profile tyres though…………..hope grand prix racing doesn’t go down that route.

On topic, I doubt Marussia will be back. Once a company assets have been liquidated and sold off, then that’s pretty much closure (no pun intended).


Thanks for the FE upday GazBoy but don’t bother, if we were at all interested in FE we’d have watched/followed the results and frankly, who cares.

Let’s stick to the important things here…

1. Is Lewis better than Alonso than Vettel?

2. Is Seb a great driver or just lucked into the best car?

3. Does Bernie know what he is doing?


Actually a lot of people (myself included) quite enjoy FE. It is close racing with plenty of overtaking. There are some well known car brands and drivers that everyone knows of. Names like Prost, Senna, Trulli, Piquet, Brabham, Heidfeld and now even almost current F1 drivers like Vergne grace the grid. This weekends race was great fun to watch.


I have to admit, like yourself I was cynical about Formula E, but watching that race live it was good fun – close, tight, action packed and very unpredictable. It’s never going to be F1, but in the “off season” it’s a good spectacle with full grids and close wheel to wheel racing.

As for your questions………..IMO

1) Lewis is the fastest driver, Alonso the best, most consistent all around machine and SV….

2) I would say he was fortunate to walk into the best team, as well as the best car, but fortune favours the brave……….

3) Yes – Mr E maybe 84, but he still has his faculties when it comes to business………


PS Pardon my ignorance, but is Formula E available to watch live in the likes of Australia, South Africa, Canada et al on normal terrestrial television, such as Channel 10, TNT and SABC? It would certainly boost its spectator appeal world wide if it was.


Available in Australia but only on Foxtel (pay TV). Not sure about South Africa but pretty sure it will be on DSTV.


Not in Australia. I dont think the networks would have a big enough audience for it.

I would certainly welcome it


Not that I’m aware of, although based on the little bit of the first race that I watched (and that was the exciting bit) I’m not too worried about it.


Wonder if Haas is having second thoughts?


He should do…an F1 team with a non Euro base (uk) is doomed ! Unless he is prepared to spend 100-200 million year…no point starting an F1 team to spend 40m like those that have fallen..cant attract sponsors based on that level of investment as +5 seconds


I doubt it. HAAS has a successful 2 billion dollar a year business (HAAS Automation) behind his F1 entry, nevermind the very successful Stewart-Haas Racing Team which fields 7 cars in 3 US based racing series, with technical backing (engines etc) from Hendrick Motorsports.

That gives HAAS F1 access to to borrowing and the ability to loss lead to a certain extent because there is a big upside for his businesses in terms of global advertising exposure. F1 gives his company access to global/emerging markets that he would otherwise struggle to access (which is why Bernie has been taking the sport to the new places its been going).

He’s following the same model he used in the Sprint Cup Series into F1 by becoming a Ferrari B team. I suspect we will see a similar path for HAAS as we have seen from Force India but with greater financial stability.

A genuinely successful underlying business is something teams like Caterham, Marussia, Lotus, and other strugglers do not have. Costs are an issue of course, but the real problem in all of this year’s issues is what makes for a successful business model in F1.

Basically the sport needs to attract more Gene Haas’s and fewer Tony Fernandes.


Shame we cannot edit comments. I fragged that one up.


From the Tony Fernandes dig, I assume you mean, we don’t want anyone bringing a team into F1 because they have a lifelong dream to bring a team name back, eg. Lotus.

Giving the Team Lotus’ employees jobs for a further five and a bit years under the Caterham name five and a bit years of time and finance, isn’t a bad effort.


I am guessing that the performance of the 2015 Ferrari Power unit will be of considerable interest to Mr Hass if the Hybrid PUs are to be carried forward to 2016. Unless Hass has access to a decent power unit his team will struggle. He might well support the current somewhat nebulous idea of non hybrid motors! I don’t see why Hass would wish to enter F1 under the current regulations without a ‘engine’ capable of getting his cars to at least finish in the points. If he does not believe he can do better than Marussia and Caterham I think he may at some point reconsiider his plans. Someone has to finish last and he won’t want it to be him!


It’s actually non-turbo engines that Bernie is floating and won’t happen. I think Haas will do better than Marussia, Caterham, and HRT did simply because he has his own money. Those other teams were backed by shady investors expecting instant returns, which isn’t how F1 works. Even IF you ever make money on it, you’re throwing money into a pit for at least two or three years – likely much longer before making anything back.


If he’s not then he’s crazy. I wonder if he misses 3-car Monte yet?

However, he’s run racing teams for a long time, and he seems to have a clear plan to use the exposure to increase his existing international business. So who knows?


Haas wasn’t promised that 40-million-budget would be enough. Instead, he was told that a billion in four years would be necessary to compete at top.


Probably not. Keep in mind, HRT, Caterham and Marussia (And USF1, not that it mattered) all believed they were coming in under a budget cap, and that they’d be able to compete successfully with minimalist budgets.

I don’t believe Haas is under the illusion that F1 is going to be cheap, or easy. Still though, being able to read over Ferrari’s shoulder without incurring a $100m penalty should be a benefit– assuming Ferrari fixes their undersized turbo by 2016.


They also came in under Max Moseley’s intentions of keeping F-1 going during a time when the manufacturers (in particular Ferrari) were threatening to pull out and create another series. Those pretenses quickly evaporated and the new teams were always struggling, instead of being the saviors of F-1 they were the unwanted step children of Max Moseley. It’s a pity, a lot of people have worked very hard, and a great deal of money has been spent for these teams and others who are now just a footnote to be treated as disgracefully has they have been treated by FOM.


really can’t see him doing any better


So is this the correct largesse algorithm:-

if (helpingSmallTeamCost > thirdCarCost)

{ useThirdCar( ); }


{ helpSmallTeam( ); }

camelCasing reflects F1’s ups and downs . . .


Nice bit of JavaScript.

*Presses RUN*


Perfect 🙂


I have a sentiment for Marussia because of Bianchi, but will not miss Caterham. Maybe I do not understand their fighting spirit and intentions, but I do not know why are they in F1.

A bit off topic, but I am wondering…. Which announcement created more excitement: alonso to mclaren or vettel to ferrari? Feels like Alonso is more popular.


Or controversial , due to “spy gate” and the question marks surronding his future working relationship with RD. FA seems to attract controversy!


They are around because they were told when they entered F1 that they would be able to run the team o a budget of $40 million per season and that there would be a budget cap to prevent the larger teams having to much of an advantage. Neither happened.


Only because Sebs announcement was quick and unexpected and Alonsos was drawn out.

Perhaps Mclaren planned it that way cause social media is still going off!


I don’t know how you can dismiss Caterham in the same breath as suggesting Marussia is worthy of saving. As it stands, Caterham raced at Abu Dhabi (at one stage they were even in front of Ferrari). Yes Marussia got some points at Monaco, but we all know that Monaco is a lottery – even relative nobodies like Olivier Panis have that win on their CVs. And yes, they have a driver in hospital after something went horribly wrong at Sazuka (only he knows what he was thinking and doing in the wet, and funnily enough, he ain’t talking about it). But that doesn’t mean Marussia is any more valid as a racing outfit than Caterham.

Let’s see who can actually raise the funds to go racing next year before suggesting either team is either more valid than the other. IMO, both teams were valid back-marker teams, in the long tradition of F1, as was formerly epitomised by teams like Minardi (now Scuderia Toro Rosso, in case people forget that they’re still with us).


Geez… You know to watch recap for the years 1996-1998. Panis was excellent up until Canada 98 when he broke both legs.

After that, I agree that he wasn’t as .competitive, but from that to a nobody, I think it’s a bit of a stretch.

As for Catherham and Marussia/Manor, I hope they both make it to the grid next year.


I only said that I have more sentiment for Marussia because of Bianchi, not saying they are objectively more deserving. Caterham failed miserably…


now hang on a minute… Oliver Panis a relative nobody?

-156 starts

-76 points, of which 56 points were achieved in a Ligier & Prost.

-1 win at Monaco in 1996 (he was running a strong 3rd when fate handed him victory)

-running 3rd in championship before a terrible & unfortunate crash broke both legs

-test driver for Mclaren early 00s matching Häkkinen’s times

Panis was damn quick and if it weren’t for his crash in Canada 1997, who knows what he may have achieved!!! An F1 hero IMO.


Guess it would be Alonso to Mclaren as after what happened in the past it was unexpected. Vettel was always destined to go to Ferrari just not as soon 2015


I suspect you were not around for Minardi. We need these teams.


AlexD, you need to do your homework! Ford bought Stewart, named it Jaguar…


“We most definitely do! Remember the glories that Vanwall and BRM ascended to?”

Of course, who here doesn’t…


We most definitely do! Remember the glories that Vanwall and BRM ascended to?

I find it strange that a Formula One forum has a spelling checking system that does not ‘know’ the names BRM and Vanwall!

My compliments of the season and thank you all.


ErikT, Red Bull purchased Jaguar.


I was around in Minardi’s time – of course someone has to be the backmarker – but Minardi were usually respectable – for just too many years and most of the time (excl Monaco this year) these 2 were running around way behind adding little value to the “show”. Though if someone could pick up Marussia and take it forward may be better- but otherwise, let them go ….


I was around….I started watching in 1998


And Jordan, and you never know, a Stewart can become a Red Bull!


definitely Alonso to McLaren


How on earth are Marussia going to Australia when all their assets have gone, buy them back from the auction ?


There could be something in that with our lovely easilly to corrupt looop hole full legal system,


They don’t need to go to Australia. F1 teams can skip three grands prix in a season so Marussia only need to show up in Bahrain at the latest.

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