As is typically the case when an F1 team hits the wall, the unpaid suppliers come out with lawsuits to try – usually without much success – to claim the money they believe they are rightfully owned.
Down in the Madrid headquarters of the former HRTF1 team, the story is no different…
One unpaid creditor, Formtech Composites Ltd – which makes composite parts for several other F1 teams, including Lotus, McLaren and Force India – has gone public in its dispute with the Spanish team, taking up the fight on behalf of other creditors who may be owed money.
Formtech claims that the backmarker outfit has offered to pay a fraction of the total debt owed, in addition to sending creditors on a wild goose chase to try and find the money.
However, Formtech has since discovered that the payment plan they agreed to was authorised on the same day the team was put up for sale, which was three days after the team was placed into liquidation.
Formtech claims that its pursuit of the monies owed has been made even trickier by the team’s ownership being transferred to an unknown Luxembourg fund.
“It has come to our knowledge that they owe a substantial amount of money to other suppliers in the motorsports industry,” a statement from Formtech reads.
“HRT decided by mid-November 2012 to stop the F1 racing activity. Formtech Composites is one of their suppliers, who supported them until the last race in Brazil.
“By 15th November a payment plan for all open invoices was jointly settled between HRT and Formtech Composites and 25% of the amount was paid according to the plan – leaving still substantial amount unpaid. One week later HRT changed the responsibility of their people involved in the case,” it added.
Further to their allegations, Formtech claims that HRTF1 is no longer in a position to pay 100% of its outstanding invoices and that their offer to pay 30 cents for every Euro owed across the entire creditor list has “no room for negotiation”.
Formtech also claimed that the apparent change of ownership of the team contitutes a deliberate attempt to mislead its creditors and restrict viable ways to chase the debt further.
“According to Formtech Composites Ltd’s knowledge, the owner of HRT (which was formerly owned by Campos Meta 1 SL) is 100% Thesan Capital SL and no Luxembourgian Fund,” the statement adds.
“Formtech Composites doesn’t accept this misleading information tactics. Formtech Composites is going to investigate further into the true shareholder ship of HRT and Thesan Capital SL.”
The news follows an allegedly hostile dispute between team members and the team’s management when the outfit returned to its Spanish headquarters after the Brazilian Grand Prix, where it is clamed that the team members were unhappy with the details surrounding their severance packages.