Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes has revealed the future programme for the Caterham Group, which will encompass both his F1 and GP2 Series teams as well as well as a number of automotive, technological and innovation companies.
All will sit within a single group business under the stewardship of Caterham Group CEO Riad Asmat as Fernandes attempts to bring several strands of his growing entrepreneurial empire into line. What wasn't revealed by the Malaysian, however, was the impending addition of former Ferrari aerodynamicist John Iley from McLaren.
“We have been talking for some time now about our plans for Caterham in all its guises, from the road car company to F1 and GP2, and in the technology, design and innovation fields," Fernandes told the media at a briefing to coincide with the Brazilian Grand Prix, "Now, with the announcement we made last week about the rebranding in F1 to Caterham F1 Team for 2012 and beyond, we are in a position to give a much more in-depth explanation of how the Caterham Group is taking shape.
“Under Riad's guidance, there are currently four main areas of the business, and we will be adding more in the future. I will go into more detail about each arm of the Group but, in simple terms, we have Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team and other motor racing investments, including our GP2 team Caterham Racing, Caterham Technology and Innovation (CTI) and Caterham Composites. The range of businesses interests we have gives us a very strong foothold in a number of growth sectors, staffed with teams of people with a strong mix of experience, youth, creativity and passion. In short, we have all the right ingredients in place to do some incredibly exciting things in markets that are ripe for innovation and new ideas."
Fernandes revealed that while the motorsport activities would be relocating, although stopping short of confirming that it would be to the former Arrows and Super Aguri technical base at Leafield, the remaining businesses would continue to make use of Team Lotus' current HQ at Higham.
“With those four arms in place, and more to be announced in due course, we have a dynamic group of businesses already working together that gives a clear vision of what our long-term strategy is in their respective fields, and as one entity under Caterham Group," he continued, "The group will be based across a number of centres of excellence – Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team and our motorsport interests will be based in one location that we are close to announcing, and our technology and composites interests will be based in Norfolk. With those plans now complete we have the foundations in place for long-term growth and success, and now we are in complete control of our own destiny. We have a very exciting future ahead of us and are all looking forward to seeing the rewards of our hard work pay off for many years to come.”
Breaking down the various areas of the business for greater scrutiny, Fernandes announced that Caterham Cars, under the leadership of Ansar Ali, would both maintain the growth of its existing line-up and work on an ambitious new product range ahead of 2014, while focusing on establishing new markets, notably in Asia and the Middle East, to build on the recent announcement of Caterham Cars India.
CTI, meanwhile, will work closely with Caterham Cars on the development of a completely new line of accessible and affordable sportscars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven, as well as drawing on the advanced technologies and materials from the Group's F1 and GP2 operations. Despite only being revealed in September, the company will also undertake advanced projects for external companies within the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Newly-formed Caterham Composites will also see some cross-over with the F1 arm, as Mike Gascoyne will combine his role as chief technical officer of the latter with that of CEO at the specialist composites operation, which is already working on projects across the aerospace, nautical, motorsport and roadcar industries.