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SBD Global/July 3, 2014/Franchises

Tony Fernandes Sells Struggling Caterham Formula One Team To Swiss, Arab Consortium

Tony Fernandes cut ties with the Formula One team he founded on Wednesday.
Tony Fernandes "has left the Caterham Formula One team he founded after it was sold to a consortium of investors," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Uncertainty over the team’s future "has been building" ever since Fernandes, also the owner of League Championship side Queens Park Rangers, admitted that "he was fed up with Formula One and his under-performing squad at the start of the year." However, it was confirmed on Wednesday that a consortium of investors from Switzerland and the Middle East have bought the team, "assuring its future for now, at least." The price "has not been disclosed." Colin Kolles, former team principal at the now defunct Midland F1 and a man behind the failed Hispania team, "is said to be an advisor." Cyril Abiteboul, who has been in charge of the Caterham team since Nov. '12, "has stepped down and is thought to be heading back to Renault Sport to help improve the performance of the company’s Formula One engines, amid complaints from Red Bull, their chief partner, that they lag seriously behind the power plants at Mercedes" (LONDON TIMES, 7/2). The BBC reported former Dutch F1 driver Christijan Albers "will take over the running of the team," assisted by Manfredi Ravetto. Albers: "We are aware of the huge challenge ahead given the fight at the bottom end of the championship" (BBC, 7/2). In London, Daniel Johnson reported Fernandes "had originally been seeking" around £350M ($601M), but it is thought that "Formula One's slowest team was sold for around one-tenth of that price." Sources suggested that an offer "also fell through after the Monaco Grand Prix, when the team were dealt a severe blow by Marussia's ninth place" (TELEGRAPH, 7/2).
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