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 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.