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Fernandes: I’m going nowhere
25 May 2013
Tony Fernandes insists he has no plans to walk away from Caterham despite admitting that the team 'messed up' over the course of the 2012 F1 season.
The team had hoped to take strides towards the midfield runners last year but ultimately only secured tenth spot in the standings during the final race of the campaign in Brazil – with the team again ending the year without a point to its name.
A difficult campaign on track for Fernandes was matched on the football field after his Queens Park Rangers team was relegated from the English Premier League – a move that is set to cost the club millions of pounds in lost revenue despite relegated teams receiving a 'parachute payment'.
Speculation had suggested that Fernandes could elect to quit Caterham to focus on helping QPR return to the top flight, but he insisted that he had no plans to walk away from the team and was in F1 for the long-term.
"We went in with our eyes wide open and we are too far down the line with Caterham so, no, I will not be leaving," he was quoted by
. "And it's not about winning the world championship for me, it's about building a car, which has always been my dream and that's progressing quite well.
"I don't need to be world champion to sell lots of cars. I need to have a brand where people say 'I know that brand' and have a price point which allows people to aspire to own one of the cars.
"With all due respect, no-one is going to run out tomorrow and buy a McLaren or a Ferrari. There are not many cars on that grid you can translate into a sports car you can buy, so that's the market I'm after.”
Fernandes did admit however that he has been disappointed by the performance shown on track last year, and said the team had been 'too clever' in the way it had approached the design of its 2012 machine.
“I thought by this year we would definitely be in the midfield, and if we hadn't have messed up last year, we could have been,” he said. "When John Iley came over last year [from McLaren] we tried to be a bit too clever with the blown diffuser and it screwed us up.
"If we had just continued on our normal path we probably would have been in the midfield by now, so we've learned the hard way. But on the business side it's done everything I wanted it to.
"Every week we are now getting significant points (of downforce) in the wind tunnel, as opposed to what was not very aggressive growth over the first two years. I also think we've the right people now, but would I say we are 100 per cent where we want to be? No. We've a nice facility in Leafield and we're going in the right direction.
"I'm not saying we are going to be world champions any time soon, but I do believe if we continue this way then we have a good chance of progressing."
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