THE collapse of Banbury-based F1 racing team Marussia has left taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Cherwell District Council is one of 27 local creditors listed in official documents.

The authority is said to be owed almost £57,000 in unpaid business rates for four units in the town. However a spokesman for the council said the figure was no longer accurate and it was in the process of recalculating the bill.

Another £110,000 is listed as being owed across the county, much of it to small firms still owed money by struggling Leafield-based F1 team Caterham – which called in administrators in October, making 230 staff redundant.

Others left with unpaid debts include Bicester-based SRD Engineering, a family owned precision engineering firm that is owed more than £15,000 by Marussia.

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Henley marketing and promotion firm Rush Group is owed £10,000 and Banbury-based Prestige Engineering £5,385.

Prestige Engineering co-director Tony Barnes said: “They were a good customer of ours but no one is naive enough to think these back-of-the-grid teams will last forever, so we were aware there was a finite time we would be working for them.

“We made hay while the sun was shining and hopefully we can survive without them.”

Mr Barnes and co-director Jim Tansley, who make parts for racing cars, said working for Caterham and Marussia was worth a total of £100,000 a year to the firm, which employs two staff.

Leafield-based F1 team Caterham – which owes Prestige Engineering £3,000 in unpaid bills – is in administration, though there are hopes a buyer can be found.

Mr Barnes added: “Touch wood we are keeping busy and have a good customer base but it’s a big hole in our turnover to fill.”

Father and son signwriting duo Les and Tim Edge, who run Edge Signs at Banbury’s Beaumont Centre, have been left almost £2,000 out of pocket for graphics painted on to lorries and racing cars.

Les Edge said: “When I think of those who worked at Maru-ssia who lost their jobs weeks before Christmas I can’t get too cross about our situation but as a small family firm it hurts to lose the money, no question about it.”

Speaking of Marussia’s debt, Cherwell District Council spokeswoman Jemma Callow said: “The council att-empts to recover all debts owed but also makes provisions as a proportion of bad debt is likely.

“The council will always pursue all avenues in an attempt to recover monies owed.”

The amount outstanding in Oxfordshire is a tiny fraction of Marussia’s £31.4m total liabilities.

According to documents filed at Companies House, the biggest creditor is Ferrari, owed £16.6m, followed by McLaren, owed £7m, and Pirelli £1m.

The team ceased trading on November 7 after FRP Advisory was appointed as administrators. In a statement, it said: “The joint administrators at FRP Advisory continue to discharge their statutory duties and realise assets in the interests of all creditors.”

Assets were sold off at a two-day online auction in December and a second sale will take place on Wednesday.

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