LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The Caterham Formula One team say they are going ahead with preparations to race in Japan this weekend despite bailiffs visiting their factory in central England on Wednesday.
The troubled team issued a statement ahead of the race at Suzuka that condemned “unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours concerning actions against 1MRT, the entrant and owner of CaterhamF1”.
“An action was threatened yesterday (Wednesday) against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of CaterhamF1 or the entrant,” it added.
“Contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan,” the statement concluded.
A senior source close to the team confirmed to Reuters by telephone that bailiffs had visited the Leafield factory but said it was not the first time and denied reports that the facility or computer servers had been closed down.
“All this nonsense is nothing to do with the Formula One team...it is 100 percent not related to the F1 team or any company or subsidiary of the F1 team,” added the source, who did not want to be identified.
Caterham changed ownership in July when Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes sold the struggling team to an unidentified “consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors”.
Since then the new owners have been embroiled in legal action with some 40 former employees who accuse them of unfair dismissal.
There have also been issues to resolve with suppliers.
Caterham, who are last in the championship standings and have never scored a point, said in a statement in July that the staff in question were employed by a supplier rather than the Formula One team itself.
The team’s Leafield site was previously used by Super Aguri and Arrows, two now-defunct teams that collapsed due to financial problems.
Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi and Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson are Caterham’s current drivers, with Spaniard Roberto Merhi due to take part in Friday first practice at Suzuka. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)