Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Red Bull Ring, 2014

Fernandes sparks new rumours over Caterham future

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Red Bull Ring, 2014In the round-up: The future of the Caterham F1 team has been plunged into doubt again.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Tony Fernandes hints he is bailing out of Formula One team Caterham (The Guardian)

“Tony Fernandes has dropped a broad hint that he is bailing out of the Formula One team Caterham. It is believed that Fernandes has already sold the Formula One arm of his operation, after four and a half troubled years.”

Kobayashi: I focus on my job (F1)

“Financially, I think we’re in a very difficult situation but I cannot do anything so I just focus on my job. That’s part of my job actually: I’ll just try for a better result as much as I can.”

New owners at Caterham F1 as Fernandes prepares for exit (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“As part of the changes current team principal Cyril Abiteboul is expected to return to Viry to help bolster Renault’s F1 operation, at the behest of Red Bull. A new management structure will be introduced at Caterham.”

Toro Rosso cleared over indoor test (Autosport)

“Following discussions between the FIA and the team and engine manufacturer, it has been confirmed that the test was fully in compliance with the rules and the matter is now closed.”

Renault progress unlikely until 2015 (ESPN)

Renault head of track operations Remi Taffin: “The engine for this year, as with Mercedes hardware, is fixed so there is not much we can change to be fair.”

The First Time – with Sauber’s Adrian Sutil (F1)

“I was 15 or 16 when the racing bug bit me. I started go-karting when I was 15 and by 16 I had my own kart and had started to think about what my target could be if I followed the racing road. I’d developed a deep fondness for racing.”


Comment of the day

There’s a lot still to be clarified about the FIA’s unpopular new standing restarts rule:

Is the procedure the same as the start, with the five red lights, etc…?
What happens if someone stalls?
Are they allowed to wave their arms and have the restart aborted? What happens then?
Are the pit crews allowed out onto the circuit to restart the car?
Can the marshals give him a push start?
Does the field go round again for another lap before lining up on the grid again?
Will the safety car lead them round?
If not, does the lead driver lead the pack round?
If so is that still a Safety Car lap?
If the stalled driver gets going again will they be able to reclaim their place on the ‘grid’ or do they have to (re)start from the back?
If the stalled driver doesn’t get going can he restart from the pit lane?

I understand that because the race has already started, then no, stalled cars probably won’t be allowed to continue, same as if they’d spun out on track, stalled, and can’t get going again. But by turning a rolling safety car restart into a standing start that is, to all intents and purposes, the same as the race start, with procedures presumable identical to the race start, and with lots of cars brimming with a massive amount of potential energy in close proximity, some of the rules are going to have to be re-drawn to cater for this kind of thing.

But I bet they’ve not bothered to address any of these questions. They’ve maybe thought that these might occur, but I doubt they’ve given it any real serious thought. After all it’s been, what, a week since this was first announced and it’s already gone through.

Standing restarts just add a whole load of unnecessary problems by implementing a solution to a problem that never ever existed.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Danny D, Hezla, Stefano and Wanon!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

1994 F1 seasonNigel Mansell prepared his grand prix racing comeback in the forthcoming French Grand Prix by testing Williams’s FW16 at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit 20 years ago today.

Here he is inspecting the car with Patrick Head, Adrian Newey and David Brown, then being greeted at the circuit by the thousands of fans who showed up and driving laps of the short track. The cameras didn’t catch his spin into the gravel at Clearways during the test.

Also on this day in 1964 Jack Brabham’s team scored their first victory in the French Grand Prix. Brabham himself finished third and team mate Dan Gurney won, the pair separated by Graham Hill’s BRM.

Image © Caterham/LAT

95 comments on “Fernandes sparks new rumours over Caterham future”

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  1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    28th June 2014, 0:10

    Based on Buxton’s tweet, place your bets for who is buying or bought, Caterham?

    My guess, Brawn.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        28th June 2014, 0:18

        @bullfrog – I wasn’t even thinking about teams/companies. Certainly could be right.

        1. I’d be amazed (and worried for the sake of the team and Group Lotus). They’re supposed to be being cautious now that they have ousted Bahar after being near the brink of financial ruin.

      2. I don’t know why but Lotus popped into my head too.

      3. I was joking…considering how Caterham’s grown out of Lotus, twice.
        Maybe it will be Brawn – he could call it Forza Ross.

    1. Your comment sir, made me smile :). Would like to see that :).

    2. RED BULL :(

    3. Zoran Stefanovic.

    4. no way would brawn be interested in returning that way

    5. bigredbears10
      28th June 2014, 0:48

      He also mentioned something about not likely to switch to Mercedes engines. Made me think of Prost.

    6. Honda? The VW-group? Bernie himself? Briatore?

      It´s probably just Stefanovic.

      1. @crammond Bernie fielding an F1 team would be counter intuitive to everything he’s ever said about wanting a smaller field and therefore I believe that’s the most likely option. :D

        1. More names springing to my mind: Max Mosley! Eddie Irvine, Paul Stoddart, Willi Weber…

          It´s probably just Colin Kolles. Together with Stefanovic.

      2. Lola? Jordan?

        1. Please let it be Jordan.

          1. Agree! would love too see those yellow machines!

    7. To me it’s round 3 for Colin Kolles.

    8. Mark Webber

    9. Renault?

      1. Agree, Renault…

        1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          28th June 2014, 16:33

          Renault ought to comeback. I know they are getting a lot of slack at the moment for their engine but the timing is perfect for them to rebuild a factory operation.
          I just hope that the jobs are safe.

    10. Honda came to mind for me too, probably not likely but just a thought.

      1. McLaren Junior Team?

        1. Under the name “Super Aguri”?

    11. Hasn’t Briatore’s ban been overturned?

    12. I’m going out on a flier and going with Porsche.

      1. Gwenael Le Page
        28th June 2014, 7:22

        Rowan Atkinson

    13. Please, please, PLEASE let it be Paul Stoddard. He’s exactly what F1 needs these days.

    14. Forza Rossa :)

      1. Redbull. By having 3 teams, they could justify building their own engine.

        1. Haha, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, and Lembu Merah.

          1. @strontium is that Thai for Red Bull I guess? What about a latin name? “Toro Rojo”… Naaah too similar to Toro Rosso.
            But honestly, if they have such a good rookie field, they should go for 3 teams .. and their own engine (built by Infiniti or Nissan of course)

          2. @omarr-pepper that’s Malay, given that Caterham is Malaysian-registered. Not sure what Red Bull is in Thai; the energy drink itself is sold as Krating Daeng in Thailand and Indonesia, and I think that pre-dates the international Red Bull company being established, but I’m not sure if it means the same thing

    15. Fumbles (@)
      28th June 2014, 10:26

      Super Aguri! It’s the Leafield Plant where they made the old cars. They’ve already made a comeback with the Formula E this year. It’s gotta be them!

  2. If I were Kamui, I’d ask Toyota if there is a LMP seat going for next year. There’s no point in staying in this circus.

    1. Having said that, McLaren using Honda engines could prove to be an opportunity for Kamui… oh dear I’m just fueling an already premature fire. I’ll stop.

      1. Kamui to Mclaren CONFIRM! YES WE DID IT!!

        1. That would actually make me root for McLaren. Absolutely unthinkable ~25 years ago, when they were the arch-enemy and the Ferrari-loving 9-year-old me wished them everything bad. How times have changed.
          But yes, keep Kamui in F1, give him a car with which he has a chance to fight for positions, give him a McLaren-drive. Or a Force-India, that would be even further up the field and still possible if Hülk moves somewhere.

      2. So what you’re NOT saying is that Honda will buy Caterham?

      3. If only Kamui wasn’t a former Toyota driver and not a Honda driver, then there might be a chance.

    2. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be disappointed at the lack of Kobayashi. I don’t think as much of him as many people apparently do.

      If Perez wasn’t good enough for McLaren, Kobayashi isn’t either.

      1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        28th June 2014, 16:36

        In fairness to Kamui he was faster than Perez but like the Hulk he can’t topple Sergio in the race because of his superior ability to preserve Pirelli tyres. He performed as well as the Hulk has done this year against Sergio Perez.

      2. This season I’m not impressed with Kobayashi at all.

      3. But Koba is more entertaining in races, and much funnier and humorous outside the cockpit. So the reason I wish for a cockpit for him is not that I think he is faster or better than Perez, he probably isn´t. I just like Kobayashi, he is a fine guy, so I´m just hoping there´s a way for him to stay around. And I do know team´s (have to) choose their drivers by other criteria than I choose my favourite drivers.

  3. The funniest thing I read all day was a suggestion that Dutch GP2 team MP Motorsport could buy F1. If that happens, I’m going to look for jobs in Germany, because the Dutch have been shamed enough by Spyker.

    1. And they dont make an impact in gp2 Either

    2. I hope it doesn’t mean Daniel de Jong is going to appear in an F1 car. He still looks a bit green.

      1. if he loose some eyebrowns he could go faster ;)

  4. I wonder if the familiar name is a privateer or a recent manufacturer. I’d love to see Renault ditch Red Bull as their main team and decide to make a full return, even though it makes little sense buying Caterham rather than Lotus.

    1. @matt90 I think it would be extremely unwise for a car manufacturer to both supply engines to Red Bull and then presume to be able to build a better chassis and run a better team than they can.

      1. It would almost make more sense for Mateschitz to buy the team! But I really hope for something a bit more interesting, someone who will try and make another step forward. Marussia shows this year that it can be done.

  5. CODT sums up all the amount of work needed to make such a stupid thing “work” (if that could be called “work” at all).

    It’s such a vast amount of time lost for a race… Races will many Safety cars instead of comfortably finishing before the 2 hour mark could lead up to less than complete races. So, basically, more time to spent watching cars, marshalls and teams get prepared, plus less laps, rounds up a rubbish deal for the fans, casual or hardcore…

    1. I wonder how many will line up in the wrong grid spot. Is that a penalty? Will lining up in the grid take longer so they get this right? Will that cause the first couple of rows to overheat? Do we just stop on the grid at the first chance and shut off? Or is that only if Charlie Whiting thinks it’s really bad out on track? If we stop can we use tyre warmers? Do we get a roll-off lap to warm the brakes and tyres? Does that count against race distance? Do you get to change tyres or go into the pits? Can I change my nose that got a little bit damaged in the fracas? What if my sparky titanium plates need fixin’?

      Imagine how annoying it will be to have this explained to us on TV every time a safety car is called for.

      1. Totally agree with COTD. All these questions need answers and procedural rules to be written – which will then get inadvertently broken and racing will be disrupted again by someone having to sit on the naughty step.
        As you say @scalextric, imagine trying to explain that to a casual viewer.
        And what about rain?
        Don’t I remember a SC being used to lead cars around at a safe speed in the wet so that the cars could try to shift some of the water off the course? I assume that won’t be possible any more.

  6. Who ever does buy the team we currently know as Caterham, they can’t do much of worse job than Fernandes. It’s been a recovery run the whole way from him. I had high hopes for that team for some reason. I have a ‘Lotus Racing’ cap from the first year that I bought at a race – that’ll never be worth anything.

    My stab at who bought it — Fiat aka Ferrari.

  7. A 2nd tweet from Will Buxton about Caterham-
    “All I’ll say is that, if true, I don’t imagine they’ll be getting their hands on Mercedes engines anytime soon.”

    At a ‘guess’, Its going to be a manufacturer badged team, Not one thats’s already supplying engines for 2015 but one thats run by someone who’s run F1 teams before & a name that will be big for F1 & who currently own a racing premises not that far away from Caterham F1.

    Just a guess.

    1. not the team furthest away then ? @gt-racer

    2. Fumbles (@)
      28th June 2014, 10:29

      Honda coming in with their customer car next year? People on another forum are suggesting Super Aguri

    3. I think the new owners are tied to someone already competing. So, Renault, Red Bull, Ferrari/FIAT, Honda, Mclaren. A bit far out, I would also guess VW/Porsche or BMW, given some rumors this year. Now that I think about it, it could be Infiniti, since their sponsoring will end in 2015.

    4. Prodrive ran team?

  8. Francorchamps (@francorchamps17)
    28th June 2014, 2:32

    Keith please… Why did you chose this COTD? F1 cars now have an anti-stall system…

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      28th June 2014, 3:21

      Really? That’s your rationale? One thing on a list of many many variables.

      The COTD is right. There’s too many things that haven’t been outlined. You cannot simply say that there’s going to be standing grid restarts, and then leave it at that.

      If it does go ahead, I hope they atleast make it work properly… If that’s even possible.

    2. An anti-stall system, so foolproof that no cars have stopped on the grid or on the track since umm, err, well the last race actually.

  9. Sutil started karting at 16. These days we have kids in single-seaters by 14. How times have changed.

    1. @wsrgo In Sutil’s day too, the vast majority of those who made it to F1 started much earlier. Sutil had started abnormally late. It’s to his credit he made it that far with such a late start

      1. Indeed! Only 10 years after encountering racing for the first time, he was in F1 with Spyker/Force India.

    2. Not really. Most (F1) drivers still start their “careers” very early with go-karts at the age of, say, four to seven. Sutil and Villeneuve are the exceptions, with both starting racing rather late.

      1. @kaiie True enough, I guess….

  10. Fernandes Quote: “We’ve given you the best infrastructure, the best potential drivers, but it is now down to all of you to go and do it.”

    With that kind of mentality Fernandes, stick to business and leave sports to the professionals.

  11. Great footage there, Keith.

    Two things:
    *What amazing support for Mansell considering it was just a test run. And how respectful were the fans? They reminded me of a Japanese crowd when they all went respectfully silent all of a sudden. Mansellmania!

    *Secondly, how incredibly terrifying was the old Graham Hill bend?

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    28th June 2014, 7:22

    If I wake up tomorrow/later today and discover Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey have teamed up to buy Caterham I shall be a somewhat happy bunny.

    Please happen, please happen, please happen…

  13. Excellent comment of the day. There are so many loopholes currently there that it’s impossible to run currently!

    The FIA really didn’t learn from the last time they introduced something absolutely stupid, didn’t they?

  14. salcrich by
    28th June 2014, 10:03

    Two more wild cards

    David Richards?

    Richard Branson?

    1. Well if you are playing this game…
      Mick Jagger
      Ron Howard
      Kim Kardashian
      Prince Charles

  15. Two more wild cards
    David Richards
    Richard Branson?

    1. Trying to think how many times Richard Branson has set up a team, or come in to buy / sponsor one, and withdrawn no time later.

      The irony is that it was the Virgin team he bought into as it started, and if he were to buy Caterham he would essentially be buying their main competitor.

  16. Regarding COTD, the worst thing for me about standing starts, is that fans might be robbed for potential fight for position. Imagine a faster car trying to overtake slower car. Now that would be easier if you do a standing restart and away goes all enjoyment, which this battle might have provided. It’s just a nonsense idea.

    1. Hadn’t thought of that one. That would be a horrific backfire.

      1. Classic FIA backfire, just like the 1998 rule-set.

  17. Didi Mateschitz? Two teams just are not enough…

    1. Not when you have so many F1 calibre drivers on your books… the only problem is, how do you divest yourself from 3 teams?! Or do you just take over the whole sport…..

  18. Having thought about it, I’ll go with a Honda buy-out of Team Leafield, ready for next season to rename it ‘Super Aguri’, playing the part of McLaren and Honda’s junior team.

    But it is probably most likely going to be Kolles or someone like that.

  19. Firstly, I’m glad it’s being bought and not just going into nowhere. Also, new management and money could mean that it improves and competes.

    Secondly, I doubt Kolles will be involved due to his involvement in Forza Rossa.

    1. If that happens, then it’ll just be renamed Forza Rossa. They are looking to use Renault engines..

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