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Fernandes: 'Progress, or I'm out'

2014-01-22 11:10

CATERHAM BOSS: Lotus Formula One team principal and Air Asia founderTony Fernandes with Air Asia grid girls at the 2011 Malaysian F1 GP. He now also owns Caterham Cars. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Formula 1 team Caterham owner Tony Fernandes has warned that he could walk away from the sport if his team fails to make a significant improvement in the 2014 Grand Prix series.

The Malaysian entrepreneur who also owns Queens Park Rangers football club and airline AirAsia told reporters at the Caterham factory that there would be no point carrying on if the team remained uncompetitive.

Fernandez said: "If we are at the back, I don't think we're going to carry on. After five years and no points, there's a limit to everyone's patience and money."

LACKING IMPROVEMENT

Caterham entered the sport as Lotus Racing with two other new teams in 2010 but when a budget cap was talked about the idea was canned. None of the teams has scored points in four seasons and Spanish-based HRT succumbed to the pressure at the end of 2012.

Caterham finished last of the 11 F1 teams; QPR was relegated from the Premier League.

Fernandes compared F1 unfavourably to football, saying it was too predictable, too expensive, not exciting enough and with insufficient chances for underdogs to create an upset. "The sport has to examine itself, he said. I think if we are going to every race and are not competing, two seconds behind everyone else, then we haven't made any progress."

Fernandes said his words were not ultimatum but of intent. He believed Caterham would make the required progress at a time of huge technical change.

The sport is introducing V6 turbocharged engines for the 2014 season. Reliability is a major concern - opening up the possibility that smaller teams could score points if others suffer failures.

Fernandes said: "Me walking away would make a fairly large dent to the team, without sounding egotistical."



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