The Caterham F1 Team has announced that it will counter-sue a number of former employees and their legal representatives for what it claims are defamatory allegations made against the team.
Earlier this week, around forty former staff announced that they would launch legal proceedings against the Leafield-based team, claiming unfair dismissal and a failure by the team to pay their final wages and severance pay as promised.
It is understood that up to fifty team members’ roles were axed following the arrival of new management headed by former F1 driver Christijan Albers, who were brought on board when team founder Tony Fernandes sold the team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors.
In response, Caterham released a strongly worded statement – written very much in the style of team ‘advisor’ Colin Kolles – to denounce the group’s allegations.
“Caterham F1 Team has read with great concern recent reports about a group of individuals who are claiming unfair dismissal from the Formula 1 team following its takeover by new owners,” the statement reads.
“The team is now taking legal action against those parties representing the individuals concerned, and each person involved, seeking compensation for the damages suffered by the team due to the gross misrepresentation of the facts made by all those concerned.”
The statement then took a more complex turn in trying to address just who had exactly been the employers of this now-unemployed group of people.
“These claims include the statement that they have been released from Caterham F1 Team – this is incorrect. Caterham F1 Team’s staff are employed by a company that is a supplier to the company that holds its F1 licence, the licence that allows it to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship,” it added cryptically.
“Additionally, the team has read claims that its staff were not paid in July – again, this is wholly untrue. Every individual currently employed by Caterham F1 Team was paid their July salary in full on 25th July, one week before it is formally due on the last day of the month, in this case 31st July.”
That sentence is completely irrelevant as it refers to staff ‘currently’ employed – it doesn’t address the payment status of those ‘formerly’ employed, who were all fired in the fortnight between the British and German Grands Prix earlier this month.
“A formal request for the withdrawal of the relevant press statement issued on 28th July has been made by Caterham F1 Team and the team will vigorously pursue its action against all those concerned. However, it will not allow its core focus to be distracted from achieving tenth place in the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, and building for the 2015 campaign and beyond,” the statement concluded.
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