The Caterham F1 team – previously known as Lotus Racing – has appointed administrators after five years competing in the top-tier of motorsport without gaining a single point.
The team currently stands at the very bottom of the 2014 constructors' championship, sharing the bottom rung with the Sauber Ferrari team, which also has zero points. At the other end of the scale, Mercedes has amassed 565 points this season.
The racing franchise is under threat after accountants Smith & Williamson were appointed as administrators, last week. The cash-strapped Oxfordshire-based company has been run under parent company 1 Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) and was bought this summer by a number of Middle Eastern and Swiss investors from Queen's Park Ranger owner Tony Fernandes, reports the Oxford Mail.
However, the new owners – whose identity is not clear – have found difficulty in raising the funds needed, which has left the team with millions of pounds' worth of debt owed to suppliers, claims the Financial Times.
Finbarr O'Connell, a partner at the administrators, told the Financial Times: "When it comes to F1 teams, you are normally dealing with one figurehead who is very much in the public eye. [However], the current owners of the Caterham Formula One team are not completely clear to me as yet."
Meanwhile, Caterham Sports' 200 or so remaining employees have been transferred from Caterham to 1MRT, leaving the Oxfordshire company with no employees.
The team is estimated to owe up to £15 million to suppliers – around three times its pre-tax profit in the year to December 2012, according to Companies House – and equipment has already been seized from the Caterham Sports' plant by bailiffs, including a test car and steering wheels, administrators report.
Following this financial woe talks are underway to find a new buyer for the team. Current potential buyers include team boss Manfredi Ravetto, former Caterham Sports and 1MRT director, Michael Willmer and 1MRT, the Financial Times writes.