Caterham boss says team was on the brink of extinction

Kobayashi Caterham

Caterham boss Manfredi Ravetto says the team was on the verge of dropping out of the sport when it was purchased by a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors in July.

The struggling squad was sold by Tony Fernandes during the summer after failing to register a point in four and a half seasons. Former Minardi driver Christijan Albers was initially installed as team boss, but the Dutchman quit after just two months at the helm and was replaced by Ravetto.

Bailiffs were reported to have visited Caterham's Oxfordshire headquarters ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, further adding to uncertainty over the team's future. However Ravetto says he is pleased with their progress as the season enters its final three rounds.

"Knowing that this team, under previous ownership, was due to stop racing before the British Grand Prix, we - the new management - are proud of having completed not only the European season but also the Asian season," Ravetto told the official F1 website.

"This gives us confidence to approach the last three fly-away races in America and the Middle-East with an extra-boost: our performance is steadily improving and recent results plus our great qualifying performance in Sochi are putting us on a level the team has hardly shown previously.

"We are on a high and we keep fighting day after day, even if there are a few negative comments or scepticism from some people who would be happy to see us failing.

"We know there are still some bumpy roads ahead and we don't expect an easy ride, but we will deal with each situation as it arrives."

Ravetto also contradicted Kamui Kobayashi's explanation of his DNF in Russia after the Japanese driver implied he had been ordered to retire a healthy car.

"I was very surprised to hear Kamui referring to some mileage-saving instruction coming from the team's management," said Ravetto. "We saw via telemetry that there was a potential issue with the brakes and we decided to avoid any risks.

"To be clear: we instructed Kamui to retire because the safety of our drivers is our first concern."