Update: Joe Saward has an interesting perspective on this situation. You can read his story here.
The fifth season of the World Cup of Motorsport is on the verge of getting under way despite recent financial problems that have seen it fighting in court for control of its associated companies.
A1GP series boss Tony Teixeira has been assuring fans that its first date, on Australia’s Gold Coast in less than two weeks’ time, will go ahead as planned, saying its cars are due to fly out on two Boeing 747s this weekend.
The cars have recently been the subject of legal acton after they were claimed by two sets of creditors to settle debts associated with the British-based company A1 Grand Prix Operations Ltd, recently put into liquidation by the High Court.
But, in an interview with Australian news site GoldCoast.com.au he said that the court had handed him back control of the company, cars and equipment on October 6 after he demonstrated that there was now enough money to keep it liquid.
At the time of writing this is not yet reflected in the Companies House record – but the time needed for the filing, checking and uploading of the necessary paperwork could easily account for the discrepancy.
Teixeira said that he is in a position to settle 10 million euros’ worth of debt as well as a further 5 million euro deposit against future costs. The money comes as part of a funding deal that is said to have secured the popular series’ future for the next four years.
He added: “Right up until Friday there was absolutely nothing I could say. From today we are moving everything, we are loading the cars on Friday and Saturday to be sent from Europe and to arrive in Australia on Sunday night and Monday morning.
“We never contemplated not being there. The only thing that held us back was because the court trial wasn’t until October 6.”
He says that he has written confirmation that 17 teams would be taking part, but does not specify which countries are represented – the series website still lists 23 entrants. Provisional entries are on the table from the USA and New Zealand.
Team Malaysia has recently stated that it will not race in Australia due to lack of time for a driver to prepare and Team Pakistan’s seatholder-driver Adam Khan has recently said he intends to be driving in Formula One within the year following a deal to make him Renault’s demonstration driver.
There is no word about whether we can expect a Team GBR to line up on the grid. The company running it went out of business before the end of last season at which point Teixeira assured fans that it would continue as long as there was an A1GP series.
But there has been no public acknowledgement of a new franchisee and, if one has not been found, it is possible the team may be run under the auspices of the series itself until it becomes an attractive business proposition once more.
Regarding his future arrangements with engine supplier Ferrari, Teixeira said he had ended a licensing agreement with the iconic motor company on the grounds of cost. Its logo, while still appearing on the series website, had been absent from recent publicity material amid rumours of a split.
But he insisted the engine supply deal was still in place.