F1 wannabe-owner Tony Fernandes sold off his Caterham Formula 1 Team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern owners, who are led by former Midland and HRT F1 principal Colin Kolles.
F1: Caterham team is sold by Tony Fernandes
By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer
The Caterham F1 team has been sold by owner Tony Fernandes to a Swiss and Middle Eastern consortium.
The new owners will be advised by former Midland and HRT team principal Colin Kolles, and they will continue to race under the Caterham name.
Caterham in F1
Best race finish: 11th – Vitaly Petrov at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Best team finish: 10th (2010, 2011, 2012)
Former Dutch F1 driver, Christijan Albers, will take over the running of the team, assisted by Manfredi Ravetto.
“We are aware of the huge challenge ahead given the fight at the bottom end of the championship,” said Albers.
“Our target now is to aim for 10th place in the 2014 championship.
“We are very committed to the future of the team and will ensure it has the necessary resources to develop, grow and achieve everything it is capable of.”
Both Caterham drivers, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson, and Kamui Kobayashi of Japan, have failed to collect a point from eight races and the team are last in the Constructors’ Championship.
Malaysian businessman Fernandes, who is also the chairman of Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, entered F1 four years ago with what was then called Lotus Racing.
The Oxfordshire-based team’s name was changed to Caterham in 2012 after Fernandes bought the manufacturer of lightweight sports cars. Caterham F1 will now have no links with the rest of the Caterham Group, which is still owned by Fernandes and comprises two technology companies as well as the car manufacturing arm.
Frenchman Cyril Abiteboul, who Fernandes had employed as team principal, has left the team and is reportedly returning to work for Renault Sport.
Lotus/Caterham finished 10th in the championship for their first three seasons but finished 11th last year.
Tony Fernandes also owns Premier League club Queens Park Rangers
If they fail to finish in the top 10 again this season, it will cost them millions of pounds in prize money.
Fernandes’ decision to sell Caterham F1 was based on their failure to improve their performance.
On Friday, Fernandes wrote on his Twitter account, which has now been closed: “F1 hasn’t worked, but love Caterham Cars.”
This decision self-proven that Fernandes and partners neither had the cut, intention nor strategic to own, manage and develop an F1 team right from the start.
Instead, the former music executive started the team and was gambling on the bit where deep-pocketed sponsors Petronas and Proton were to jump in and support the financial conundrum of a low caste F1 team. By the he packaged his team as ‘1Malaysia Team’.
When that failed too, he had to scrooge what ever pittance he has left over from his low-of-the-rung Queen’s Park Rangers football team, which did very poorly to remain in the premier league and eventually was relegated to barclays premier.
Fernandes singularly in a very short time manage to bastardise the ‘Caterham’ brand in several single strokes. The tried to prostitute the brand for a regional charter jet business, which did not take off despite the idea mooted back in 2010.
In short, pretentious-accented Fernandes proven himself in a very short time he cocked things up. Why? He over-sold, he had no substance, his ideas are deffective, he entered into the ill-intent to milk Petronas and Proton for money and fund his project.
It was about getting someone paying for Fernandes to promote his brand at international level, in big time.
So that he could create some controversial about this team, the competition and the industry. And eventually cash out for a premium.
Quod erat demonstratum.