28 August 2012
Fernandes disappointed at Caterham position
Caterham team boss Tony Fernandes insists that his squad will keep fighting despite the frustration of not yet being part of F1's midfield.
The team may have a shiny new home at Leafield, but Caterham principal Tony Fernandes admits that that will not do much to help overcome the disappointment of seeing his squad still trailing the F1 midfield.
The Malaysian entered the season with high hopes of perhaps mixing it with the likes of Toro Rosso, Force India, Sauber and Williams but, as the summer break comes to an end at this week's Belgian Grand Prix, finds it still staring at a sizeable gap that needs to be jumped in order to move up the pecking order. Despite being comfortably ahead of backmarkers HRT and Marussia, Caterham has still to open its F1 account and has had to be content with producing the odd qualifying upset. Fernandes, however, is quick to offer reminders that his team is nothing if not a fighter.
"We have not scored our first point yet, and we have much more work to do to chip away at that gap to the pack ahead, which is now less than one second," Fernandes reasoned, "However, it is fair to say we are disappointed with where we are, as I am sure many people who follow us are.
"The belief that we can achieve what we have set out to do is what drives us on and we have to remember that, just 35 months ago, we did not even exist. Since the first day of this team, we have had to fight extremely hard and, off track, we have had to deal with two major court cases. Both cases we have had to face, with Group Lotus and Force India, have been painful processes, for the team and personally for everybody involved, but we have not let them distract us.
“Whilst those fights were being won in court, we have continued to make significant progress on track, particularly compared to the other two teams who joined the sport at the same time as us. We are absolutely determined to keep building on that progress and use the passion we have to join the midfield to keep pushing us forwards. And we will get there. We have everything in place to accomplish our goals and with the fierce determination we have to succeed we can kick on from there and keep climbing up the grid.”
While heading to Spa-Francorchamps will bring a welcome return to racing after the longest summer break since the initiative was introduced, Fernandes admits that finally completing the move from Hingham to Leafield will provide another boost to the team's ambitions.
“I am delighted we are back and racing - it has only been a few weeks since the team packed up in Hungary and headed to Leafield for the first time to unpack the trucks, but, as we are starting the second half of the 2012 season at our new permanent home in Oxfordshire, it does feel a little like we are starting fresh all over again.
"Everyone in the team has worked incredibly hard to help make the move as seamless as possible and I want to thank them for their efforts over the August break. I cannot stress highly enough how important the move to the new factory has been. On one level, it is fantastic to see just how motivated everybody in the team is to be starting work in our new home and, on another, Leafield sends out the clearest possible message about our long-term aspirations. We have invested a considerable sum in purchasing the site and refurbishing it to bring it up to the standards needed to compete for honours in F1, GP2 and all the motorsport categories we take part in now and in the future. That investment puts in place the final piece of the jigsaw needed to take the next step and join the midfield – now we have no excuses.
“In addition to the Leafield move we also have more good news coming at Spa on the commercial front. We have another major new sponsor joining the team from the Belgian Grand Prix and their logos will be proudly displayed across the cars and the whole team. We will be unveiling that new partnership on the Thursday of the race weekend and that will send out another very powerful message about how serious we are about taking the fight to the teams ahead."
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