The Administrators from Smith & Williamson are planning to take over ownership of 1MRT in addition to acting as administrator for Caterham Sports Limited. This offers the potential for the team – or what is left of it – to race again this season. The news has been reported as Bernie Ecclestone allowing the team to miss to races, but the truth is that under the terms of the contracts between the teams and the Formula One group, all the teams are allowed to miss a maximum of three races and can still retain the franchise, as long as the company that signed the agreement remains solvent. The plan appears to be to miss Austin and Brazil and for the team to retun in Abu Dhabi. This presumably means that the Administrator will make an entry for 2015, which needs to be done by November 1, and will pay the entry fees necessary.
Finbarr O’Connell and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson say that 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. With the debts likely to be wiped out by the Administration, the agreement to acquire the parent company gives the administrators something to sell.
“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 Shinners. “Purchasing the assets would give the buyer ready access to F1 racing.”
The problem is that with 11 teams, the teams have very little value because they have to compete for prize money, which only 10 teams get. The 11th team will have to fight for a token payment of $10 million, as happened this year with Marussia. The prize fund is not about to change in the short term. The administrators say that they have already been contacted by a number of interested parties expressing a wish to buy the team, but it is doubtful that the offers will be very large. If Caterham finishes 11th this year, it will be 2017 before it will be able to get back into the top 10 prize money because the pecking order is established by results from two of the last three seasons. Caterham finished 11th in 2013 and will probably do do again in 2014, so it will not be possible to claim big money until the team has finished 10th or above in 2015 and 2016.