Caterham team principal Manfredi Ravetto says some of the rumours surrounding the team recently have been “bullsh*t” but admits he can't guarantee the team's future.
Bailiffs have visited the team's Leafield factory and seized items
in recent days, with Ravetto saying the majority of parts were simply “memorabilia” which would need to be returned as the dispute is not with 1MRT – the owners of the F1 entry. However, Ravetto couldn't state that 2014 car parts had not been taken.
“As far as I can see the parts of the 2014 car for the Japanese Grand Prix are next door, you can see them,” Ravetto said. “Obviously this advert is not providing any pictures, any evidence, any more detail for the breakdown of seized assets and I can tell you that this matter is in the hands of our solicitors.
“There was a bailiff who removed certain stuff but this is more memorabilia than race critical parts.
“We introduced this morning a new front wing. I [read] that someone is tweeting on social media that we managed to hide it from the bailiffs; this is just bullsh*t, sorry to say this. I also read somewhere that it was sent to Japan with a secret courier; just bullsh*t again.”
Asked to confirm or deny whether 2014 car parts had been seized – whether perceived to be “vital” or not – Ravetto replied: “I don't have this very clear in mind but trust me I have had no kind of alert from our technical people.
“I'm not a technical guy. So I know that some carbon components have been seized. These carbon components are still considered by me memorabilia – maybe someone could argue on this – but it was not parts we were going to put on the car this year or here in Japan whatsoever.”
Having highlighted debts to suppliers as a problem for the team, Ravetto said it had become clear that the new owners should have moved the F1 team rather than leaving it at Leafield alongside other arms of the Caterham Group which it does not own.
“I would say no [the suppliers are not vital to completing the season], otherwise we would not be here. Obviously every supplier is important but I would not say vital. I take this occasion to probably admit a mistake from our side. In order to keep the whole structure quiet, in order to make no drama, in order to make no revolution after the takeover we never decided to make a physical split. Today I regret this, I think we should have done a physical, geographical split from day one.”
Asked for guarantees the debts wouldn't see Caterham drop out of F1, Manfredi said: “Our entry is our main asset. We will do everything that is needed to protect it,” before citing that the wind tunnel model of its 2015 car is testing in Cologne at present
When it was put to Ravetto that he had not guaranteed the team's ability to see out the season, he conceded that was an impossible statement to make.
“I agree that I didn't provide you with a first call bank guarantee that we will be until the end of the season or even next year, but who can do this? I can tell you that I'm very much confident, but on the other side we are also realistic. We know where this team is coming from and therefore we are quite relaxed on this respect.
“The main guarantee I can give is highlighting once more the importance of defending an entry and of keeping an entry. To keep an entry you need to have two cars on the grid and this is what we're going to do.”