Oxford

Caterham F1 staff locked out of Oxfordshire site

Caterham Sports Limited site
Image caption Staff have been locked out of the Caterham Sports Limited site in Leafield

Staff working at the Caterham F1 team site in Oxfordshire have been locked out of the firm's premises, the administrator has told the BBC.

Finbarr O'Connell, from Smith & Williamson, said Caterham F1 operator 1MRT had made an "inadequate" offer to continue using the Leafield site.

Administrators have taken control of the building, where F1 cars were made.

Mr O'Connell said he was trying to resolve the situation with 1MRT but until then had locked staff out.

Employees from Caterham Sports Limited - which manufactures cars for the F1 team and is run as a separate company - were transferred to 1MRT when the company was placed into administration on Friday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Administrators said 200 jobs were at risk at the company, which manufactures Caterham's F1 cars
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tony Fernandes announced he had sold Caterham to a consortium in July

Mr O'Connell said 200 jobs were at risk and up to £20m was owed to external suppliers.

One employee at the site said: "We've just been given a letter saying we're not allowed in today - it seems to be a very confused situation.

"People are confused and disillusioned by it all.

"It's a shame that it's ended so abruptly. It's not looking good - I think it could be the end."

Race doubt

Tony Fernandes, who owns the Air Asia airline and Queens Park Rangers football club, sold the team to a Swiss and Middle eastern consortium, Engavest SA, in July.

The consortium has insisted Caterham Sports Ltd is not related to them, as they had transferred operations to the team's holding company, 1MRT.

Developments at Caterham have brought into question the team's participation in the forthcoming US Grand Prix, which takes place in Austin, Texas, on 2 November, and the race in Brazil the following weekend.

In a statement, Caterham F1 said: "The administrators' appointment has had devastating effects on the F1 team's activities."

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