Caterham sale has Formula 1 world confused

Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday 12 March 2014

Puzzled heads are being scratched in the Formula 1 paddock, the day after the struggling Caterham team changed hands with immediate effect, earlier this week.

Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes’ 100 per cent sale of the team was confirmed late on Wednesday, a media statement saying that Caterham are now owned by “a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors”.

The statement, however, did not name the investors, and sources insist that they will remain ‘in the background’ while Caterham is run now by HRT’s Colin Kolles and Manfredi Ravetto, and former Minardi driver Christijan Albers.

The veteran correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick, however, is concerned, “The whole Formula 1 paddock puzzles over these new investors. In the official announcement of the team, no names were mentioned.”

Benoit is not alone. Kevin Eason, the correspondent for the London newspaper The Times, said the lack of information about Caterham’s new owners “will ring alarm bells”.

He explained: “Formula 1 insiders with long memories will remember the last time a Swiss-Arab consortium arrived in the sport.”

Eason is referring to 2009, when a group calling itself Qadbak, involving controversial figure Russell King, bought Sauber from BMW only for the deal to collapse.

“Caterham’s long-suffering staff will hope that this deal has more substance with their jobs on the line,” he wrote. (GMM)