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FIA breaks silence on Caterham and Marussia situation

The FIA has issued a statement in response to the failure of Caterham and Marussia to show up in Austin.

It says that the US GP stewards will bear the circumstances in mind when considering whether the teams have broken the rules.

Looking ahead, the governing body says that it will support efforts at controlling costs.

“The FIA has been informed of the financial difficulties of the Caterham F1 and Marussia F1 Teams and of the considerable uncertainty surrounding their participation in the final races of the 2014 championship.

“It is the responsibility of the FIA Stewards to determine whether or not a team has failed to fulfil its regulatory obligation to take part in all events on the calendar and to take whatever action they deem appropriate. However, we have every confidence that the Stewards are fully aware of the financial situation of the teams concerned and these matters are always assessed with extreme care and due regard for the circumstances involved.

“Looking beyond the end of the 2014 season, these failings once again acutely raise the question of the economic balance of the FIA Formula One Championship and justify the position, expressed many times by the FIA, in favour of any initiative that will help reduce costs in order to ensure the survival of the existing grid or attract potential new entrants.

“As such, the FIA, in close cooperation with FOM and the different stakeholders in F1, will continue to work towards maintaining the attraction of the championship and the equitable participation of the teams in it in the years to come.”

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Bianchi “continues to fight,” says family

Jules Bianchi remains in a critical but stable condition, his family said in a statement today.

The statement read: “It will be four weeks this coming Sunday since Jules’ accident and he remains in the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. His condition continues to be classified by the medical professionals here as critical but stable. Although we have no new information to give, we recognise that there are a huge number of people all around the world who are supporting Jules and willing him on in his fight. We owe it to his many fans to acknowledge the continued outpouring of messages, and to provide some information, however brief it may be.

“Jules does indeed continue to fight. Although there have been some reports suggestive of plans for Jules’ treatment, at this time his fight will continue here in Yokkaichi. We are taking things step by step.

“Once again, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation for the patience and understanding being shown towards our family at this very difficult time. We also continue to be comforted by the knowledge that Jules is receiving the best possible care at the Mie General Medical Center, with the doctors here remaining in constant contact with the neurosurgeons at the University La Sapienza of Rome, and Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission.

“We will provide a further update when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who continues to keep Jules in their thoughts and prayers.”

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Fernandes still owns Caterham F1, says buyer

The Swiss-based organisation that purchased Caterham F1 in June insisted today that the shares had not been transferred by the previous owners, and that Tony Fernandes thus remains “responsible” for the team.

As the battle of words continues Fernandes said yesterday on Twitter “If you buy something, you should pay for it.”

A statement from the buyer said: “On 29 June 2014 Engavest SA signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Tony Fernandes and the Caterham Group to acquire the shares of 1Malaysia Racing Team/Caterham F1.

“Engavest SA has fulfilled all the conditions precedent, including paying the purchase price for the shares.

“The shares have not been transferred and therefore Mr Fernandes remains the owner of Caterham F1 and is fully responsible for all its activities.”

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Frustrated Caterham buyer threatens legal action against Fernandes

Caterham F1 has issued a statement explaining that the previous owners have not officially transferred their shares to the buyers, who are represented by Colin Kolles and the new management that took over the team shortly before the British GP.

The news comes after Caterham Sports, a company associated with the team, went into administration. The new owners claim that they are funding the team while not having legal title to it, and are now threatening legal action against Tony Fernandes and his associates.

The team said today: “On 29 June 2014, Caterham Enterprises Ltd, Caterham (UK) Ltd and Sheikh Mohamed Nasarudin (Seller) and their shareholders Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Bin Meranun entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Engavest SA (Buyer) with regards to 1Malaysia Racing Team Sdn Bhd/Caterham F1 Team.

“Since the date of the Agreement, the Seller has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the Buyer. The Buyer has been left in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought. This is in total contradiction to the Seller’s press release of 3 October 2014 which stated that Mr Fernandes and his Caterham Group had no longer any connection with the Caterham F1 Team.

“The administrators of Caterham Sports Limited have been appointed on behalf of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim), a creditor of Mr Fernandes and the Caterham Group. The Buyer has no connection with Exim. Caterham Sports Ltd was a supplier company to the Caterham F1 Team. Very regrettably, the administrators’ appointment has had devastating effects on the F1 Team’s activities. Since their appointment, the administrators have released various press statements which have been severely detrimental to the management of the Caterham F1 team.

“After three months of operating the Caterham F1 Team in good faith, the Buyer is now forced to explore all its options including the withdrawal of its management team. Lawyers have been instructed by the Buyer to bring all necessary claims against all parties, including Mr Fernandes who, as an owner, will run the F1 operation.”

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Sam Michael to leave McLaren and F1

McLaren has confirmed that sporting director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season and return with his family to his native Australia.

Michael tendered his resignation back in March, and a team source says it was “reluctantly accepted” by Ron Dennis. It’s been stressed that this is a personal decision by Michael, who has two children.

The 43-year-old worked briefly on the domestic racing scene while still an engineering student, before travelling to Europe in 1993. Since then he has worked with Lotus, Jordan, Williams and McLaren.

He will attend the remaining races of this season.

Meanwhile McLaren has categorically denied suggestions in Italy that COO  Jonathan Neale and technical director Tim Goss are also leaving the company.

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Brawn and Domenicali join FIA’s Bianchi accident investigation

Ross Brawn, Stefano Domenicali and Emerson Fittipaldi are among the members of the FIA Accident Panel which has been formed to investigate the Jules Bianchi incident in Suzuka.

As previously announced, the Panel will be led by Peter Wright, who is Chairman of the FIA Safety Commission.

The FIA said today that “the group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA President. The work of the group will start this week and a full presentation of its findings is to be made at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 3 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.”

In addition to Wright the full composition of the Panel, as outlined by the FIA, is as follows:

Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari

Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari

Gerd Ennser, Chief Stewards’ representative

Emerson Fittipaldi, President of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, F1 Steward

Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director

Roger Peart, President of the Circuits Commission, President of the ASN of Canada, F1 Steward

Antonio Rigozzi, Advocate, Judge at the International Court of Appeal of the FIA co-opted by the teams

Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission

Alex Wurz, President of the GPDA, drivers’ representative

 

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Hulkenberg to stay with Force India in 2015

Nico Hulkenberg will remain at Sahara Force India in 2015, the team confirmed today.

Hulkenberg rejoined the team this season after one year with Sauber, and he has been a consistent point scorer.

Everybody in the team is delighted to see Nico remain a Sahara Force India driver for next season,” said team boss Vijay Mallya. “We rate him very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points. We know him extremely well: he’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid and I am proud that he will continue to race in the colours of Sahara Force India.”

It’s good to confirm my plans for next season,” said Hulkenberg. “This is a team I know extremely well and we’ve enjoyed a great year together with some special results. The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year. We have a strong partner in Mercedes and everyone in the team is motivated and hungry for more success. I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year.”

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