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Fernandes in quit threat

NEWS STORY
21/01/2014

Caterham owner Tony Fernandes has threatened to walk away from F1 should his team not make a significant step forward this season.

After four seasons in F1, the Anglo-Malaysian outfit has yet to score a point. Having finished tenth in 2012 the team slipped back to eleventh last year when Marussia leapfrogged it in the standings courtesy of a thirteenth place finish for Jules Bianchi in, ironically, Malaysia.

Today, having confirmed his team's driver-line-up, the last team to do so, Fernandes admitted that his patience is running thin, warning that if there is no real sign of improvement this season he will walk away.

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

Fact is, Fernandes was one of several attracted to enter the sport in 2010 lured by the promise of budget capping that would level the playing field. However, the grandees of the pitlane threw out the idea and in the years that followed the chasm between the haves and have-nots has widened further, a situation not helped by the introduction of a raft of expensive new rules for 20104.

At a time when more than half the teams are in financial difficulty, Fernandes is the latest voice to urge caution.

"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. If we are not competing then we have got to seriously examine ourselves as to whether this makes sense.

"I am saying these things with the confidence that I think we will deliver," he continued. "I would not be here otherwise. But I am also being real that if we don't, I don't think anyone expects us to carry on being last. But we are fairly confident that we should see some progress."

Whilst some might see this as a bombshell fact is we're surprised that it has actually taken Fernandes this long to come to his senses.

In entering the sport in 2010, enticed by the carrot that was the budget cap, the new teams were sold a dummy - just as Gene Haas and friend are being sold a dummy this time around. Despite the RRA Virgin, Lotus and Hispania were always destined to discover the meaning of the old adage that the only way to make a small fortune in F1 was to start with a large one.

At the same time however, Fernandes has taken his eye off the ball, for since the team entered F1 in 2010 his growing disenchantment with the situation has been glaringly obvious. Finding various new ways to fill his time, and spend his money, he has allowed the team to lose its focus.

With no disrespect to either Kamui or Marcus, nothing we have seen or heard suggests that 2014 will be any different for the Leafield-based outfit. And if Fernandes didn't see that coming he's not half the businessman others would have us believe.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by petes, 22/01/2014 3:47

"@ Ro,

Was the muppetry precedent or do you see it as existing? Mildly curious.
I thought the KK and GvdG pairing would have been a good one is all."

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2. Posted by Ro, 22/01/2014 2:10

"Im sorry , but with the two muppets you have as drivers, you may as well give up now. Continuity is what you needed in driver line-up."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by ape, 21/01/2014 21:42

"Can we have Max back , that guy was great and his budget cap idea would have brought back a lot of interesting new tech solutions as tech rules were less restricted in his plans.
And even the expected cheating of Ferrari would have been limited.
I still do not understand why Max got so little support from the journos , probably afraid not to get invited anymore for the whine and dine parties of the big teams."

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