27 November 2011
Fernandes outlines Caterham future
It is the motorsport operations, however, that will spearhead Caterham Group, with the rebranded F1 team being backed up by activities all the way down the racing ladder.
“Caterham F1 Team is the new and permanent incarnation of our F1 investment," Fernandes confirmed, "On and off track, we continue to invest in people, infrastructure and technology and 2012 is a critical year in our development.
"Underneath the F1 team sits Caterham Racing, the new name for our GP2 team, and then we have our driver development programme that encompasses various motor racing formulae from karting, GP3, World Series by Renault and right up to F1 – a staircase of talent that gives opportunities for drivers, engineers, mechanics and all the associated skill-sets across the motorsport industry the chance to learn, develop and reach the top.
"This is also complimented by the various Caterham Cars racing series, currently with approximately 700 cars competing in series around the world and now given a new impetus by the direct links to the F1 team and all our associated motor racing interests."
The F1 team also looks set to be given fresh impetus following McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh's revelation that Iley is destined for Caterham.
"I've just had a request from Tony [Fernandes] - could he have him early? -- and I haven't agreed yet," he told Reuters at Interlagos, "John is a good guy and we have got a number of things that we could have him do but we will decide that in the course of the next week. Tony would like him earlier and we might come to an accommodation on that."
Iley joined McLaren from Ferrari in early 2010, but Whitmarsh revealed that he had been employed more in a managerial role than aiding the team with its aerodynamics function.
"In fact, I think he's going [to Caterham] in a broader role than just aerodynamics," the McLaren boss surmised, "Tony is bringing together Caterham cars and I think he will be performance director [there]."
Although Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen threatened to start Team Lotus' final grand prix with a spot in Q2, both ultimately fell just short, but remained positive about the race to come.
“That is a great way to end qualifying for the season, one of the really good laps - I've had a lot of good sessions this year but that really stands out as one of the best," Kovalainen commented, "Jarno has been strong here all weekend and I was just behind him after the first runs, so I had to really pull out everything to beat him. Whatever happens, it'll be a good Sunday, and hopefully a great way to end the season.”
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