LONDON - Formula One strugglers Caterham were plunged into a fresh crisis on Wednesday when the team's new owners launched a bitter attack on former supremo Tony Fernandes.
Caterham were bought from Malaysian businessman Fernandes in June by a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern interests.
But they claimed that they have been running the backmarkers without being the legal owners after a row over transfer of shares and described the team's recent difficulties as "detrimental".
"Since the date of the agreement, the seller has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the buyer," said an angrily-worded statement.
"The buyer has been left in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought.
"This is in total contradiction to the seller's press release of 3 October 2014 which stated that Mr Fernandes and his Caterham Group had no longer any connection with the Caterham F1 team.
"The administrators of Caterham Sports Limited have been appointed on behalf of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim), a creditor of Mr Fernandes and the Caterham Group. The buyer has no connection with Exim.
"Caterham Sports Ltd was a supplier company to the Caterham F1 team.
"Very regrettably, the administrators' appointment has had devastating effects on the F1 team's activities.
"Since their appointment, the administrators have released various press statements which have been severely detrimental to the management of the Caterham F1 team.
"After three months of operating the Caterham F1 Team in good faith, the buyer is now forced to explore all its options including the withdrawal of its management team.
"Lawyers have been instructed by the buyer to bring all necessary claims against all parties, including Mr Fernandes who, as an owner, will run the F1 operation." However, Fernandes claimed later Wednesday that he had yet to be paid for Caterham by the consortium.
"If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple," he tweeted.