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Fernandes: Caterham future hinges on 2014 F1 progress

'If we're at the back, I don't think we're going to carry on' – Tony Fernandes
Tony Fernandes says he is likely to walk away from Caterham if the team isn't making progress in 2014.

Since joining Formula One in 2010 as one of three new teams, Caterham – and under previous guises as Team Lotus – has failed to score a single world championship point. In 2013 it was beaten to tenth place in the constructors' championship by Marussia, the first time it has finished bottom of the standings.

After announcing a new driver line-up of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson for 2014, and with new regulations taking effect, Fernandes says Caterham has to display a step forward.

“If we're at the back, I don't think we're going to carry on,” Fernandes said. “After five years and getting no points; there's a limit to everyone's patience, money, etc. And the sport has to examine itself. I'll always talk directly and always say what I believe, but I'm in a fantastic position to see two sports: football [with Queens Park Rangers] and Formula One.

“Every week I go to a game nervous as hell, whether I'm playing Yeovil, Doncaster or Leicester. Football is unpredictable. It's no secret that every year people are paying more money to watch football, TV rights are growing, global audiences are growing etc. What are they doing right that we're not doing right?

“We spend all our time on how long the pipe is, KERS etc, but the racing stays the same. The three or four teams are there every week winning, there's no underdog that comes in.”

Asked what he meant by being at the back, Fernandes said: “If we're going to every race and we're not competing – we're two seconds behind everyone else – then we haven't made any progress.”

However, Fernandes clarified that he believes Caterham will make progress in the coming season.

“I'm saying these things with the confidence that we will deliver, I wouldn't be here otherwise. But I'm also being real that if we don't then I don't think anyone in this office expects us to carry on being last … we're fairly confident that we should see some progress.

“I was asked a question and I'm answering it as honestly as possible, but I'm also saying Formula One needs to look itself in the mirror and say 'Is this the sport we want? Is this going in the right direction when you compare ourselves with other sports?' We've talked long and hard about cost, it's time for some action.”

Tagged as: Lotus , marussia , Caterham

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.05.2013- Qualifying, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT03, Test Driver and Tony Fernandes, Caterham
25.05.2013- Free Practice 3, Tony Fernandes (MAL) Caterham F1 Team
23.03.2013- Qualifying, Tony Fernandes (MAL) Caterham F1 Team
20.09.2013- Friday Press Conference,  Tony Fernandes (IND), Caterham F1 Team , Team Principal
Robert Kubica, Renault, Lotus E20, Valencia [Credit: Renault F1]
Robert Kubica, Renault, Lotus E20, Valencia [Credit: Renault F1]
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January 21, 2014 3:43 PM

He's right about the cost aspect. It's been jawed on about forever, and nothing has happened. Either Todt does something, or he wipes the discussion off the table, and says get your cheque books out and go for it. Chatterham's problems aren't only buget related though. They go far deeper I'm afraid. The technical aspect needs to be reviewed. Someone who claims to know what's cooking is telling stories. He has a long record of mediocracy, and nothing has changed since he's been on this watch. No names, no pack drill, but we all know who I mean,.


January 21, 2014 4:10 PM

What I want to know is: How can Stewart enter F1 as a new team in 1997 and be competitive (though unreliable) and none of the three new teams that have entered have seemed to make any real progress in the last 4 years? Discounting that Caterham played safe in the first year, they have sourced the championship winning engine, added KERS etc, had god drivers (notwithstanding 2013). Marussia ok only had a Cosworth but had KERS last year and they are still fighting only each other. What's the difference? personally I believe its aerodynamics, and possibly electronics. A 1997 car could be bit aerodynamically deficient and still be strong in some places as there wasn't the extreme reliance on aero that there is now. Now if you have a bit of a poor aero design, you're 2 seconds off the pace. I don't think its helped by a lot of the modern designed tracks all being the same bar some of the oldies. Bring back the variety of tracks and maybe engine cylinder numbers. Remember in the early to m

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