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Caterham chasing cash with new owners

2014-07-05 10:21

NEW OWNER, NEW HOPE? Caterham's motorhome at Silverstone ahead of the 2014 British F1 GP. Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes (inset) has sold to Swiss-Middle Eastern investors. Image: AFP / Andrew Yates

KEITH WEIR

Caterham seek to escape last place under new owners
Fri, Jul 4 2014


SILVERSTONE, England - Perennial Formula 1 straggler Caterham, with its change of ownership this week, is seeking to avoid finishing last in the 2014 championship while preparing for a fresh start in 2015.

Confirmation that work is going ahead on 2015's cars should help to remove some of the uncertainty prompted by the sale of the team by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes.

Gerry Hughes, head of track operations at Caterham, said on Friday ahead of the 2014 British F1 GP here: "The new owners have given us a direction and a remit. Our goal for the rest of 2014 season is to finish 10th in the championship and the design for the new car is going ahead and on schedule.

"We'll look forward to 2015."

MILLIONS AT STAKE

Caterham is 11th and last in the championship and has yet to score a point after four-and-a-half years of trying. It's long-time rival Marussia is ninth after scoring its first-ever points in Monaco in May while Swiss team Sauber has also failed to score this season but is ahead of Caterham based on finishes.

Finishing last in the championship for the second successive season would cost Caterham tens of millions of rands in prize money - and the smaller teams in F1 are facing a struggle to survive in a sport with high overheads.

Hughes said it was "business as usual" but admitted that he did not know a lot about who was now funding the team since the exit of Fernandes, who also owns English Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers.

ALBERS IN CHARGE

The new owners' identities remain shrouded in mystery, identified only as "Middle Eastern and Swiss investors".

Hughes told reporters: "You probably know as much about the overall management structure and the investors as I do."

Former driver Christijan Albers has taken over day-to-day running of the UK-based team, advised by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

The new management team is at Silverstone to observe the operation at close quarters.
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