Caterham denies F1 quit rumours

Tony Fernandes (MAL) Caterham Team Principal. Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday 24 March 2012.

Tony Fernandes

Caterham has slammed paddock rumours suggesting that team founder Tony Fernandes has lost interest in the Formula 1 project and could soon be shut it down.

Late last year, Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes handed over the role as team boss to Cyril Abiteboul.

And the decision to replace the highly rated Heikki Kovalainen with a second pay-driver for 2013 was seen by some as an acknowledgement that Caterham is unlikely to ever make the giant leap from the back even to the middle of the grid.

Indeed, the green cars lined up dead last on the Melbourne grid last Sunday, while Caterham was the only team whose drivers both finished the race two laps down.

Riad Asmat, Caterham chief executive, dismissed all the rumours.

“If I remember correctly, our alleged demise has been reported about since we came into Formula 1 in 2010,” he is quoted by Speed Week.

He said “The investments we have already made for the new turbo era” beginning in 2014 is clear evidence Caterham has no intention of pulling out of Formula 1.

“Why would we spend money like that if we’re closing down?” the Malaysian asked rhetorically.

“Formula 1 is part of a larger picture of our business model,” Asmat continued, “and a fundamental part of the complete philosophy.

“That is the second reason why the rumours of a withdrawal are nonsense. Caterham is staying this year, next year and for many more years,” he insisted. (GMM)