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Ravetto reveals little

NEWS STORY
29/09/2014

Whilst the newly installed Caterham boss is confident his team will line-up on the 2015 grid, Manfredi Ravetto is giving precious little else away.

Indeed, an interview with the official F1 websites poses far more questions that it even begins to answer as the identity (and purpose) of the new owners remains shrouded in secrecy.

"I will be very honest - I cannot be more honest - and if there are things that I don't know then I am obviously not supposed to know everything," he says when asked about the team's ownership structure.

"It works like this: it works basically as a club of people," he continues. "They have been pulled together by Dr (Colin) Kolles. It is a number of very wealthy individuals who just decided to play it cheap in the casino. They have no ambitions in F1 - they have their own businesses - and it is quite equally split between Switzerland and Dubai.

"And why is it so anonymous? I'll give you an example. If I know a name and it circulated - if I said, 'Mr White is behind it' - then for sure we would have Mr Black who would say, 'Why is Mr White becoming popular and not myself?' Then Mr Green is saying, 'But this was not agreed! Either none of us or all of us should be known - but I don't want to be!' We don't want to enter into such a tricky game. We didn't want to get involved in that matter of exposure of our shareholders. The situation as it is now gives us total freedom to work without any interference.

This is a small team which was structured as a mega, state-of-the-art, supersonic, top team - and it cannot work like this," he adds. "You have to be realistic. I don't know what the target of the previous owners was, but this is not sustainable - and it has proven not to be sustainable."

Asked about the condition of the team as it stands, and insight into Tony Fernandes decision to get out of F1, Ravetto says: "My feeling is that with the previous owners having already pulled the plug in a quite evident way, the team did not believe anymore that they would race at Silverstone. There is some additional evidence for that. But not only did we manage to race at Silverstone, we also did the test at Silverstone and made it to Singapore. In the meantime we have also made some significant improvements to the car - some significant improvements in terms of restructuring - and we keep fighting.

"But I would like to be clear," he adds, "we take it as it comes. We are very relaxed. I think we have done a small miracle to bring it to where it is. I think we also did a small miracle by improving the performance and being ahead of Marussia in terms of speed and very close to Lotus and Sauber. We are set to deliver miracles!"

Looking ahead...

"We are currently trying to keep developing our current car," he says. "We want to introduce some more new bits and pieces because the 10th place in the constructors' championship is our focus. P10 is of highest importance to us - but it is not vital. We have a plan in place regardless of the place, as we want to give the company a future. We have restructured the technical department and put it under the control of John Iley and his staff, which was not the case before we arrived. And it already shows very interesting data. But of course we will not build the world championship-winning car."

And even further ahead...

"We are currently testing our 2015 car in Cologne, at Toyota's wind tunnel," he reveals. "Obviously you cannot run your car in Cologne just because of our extremely nice attitude. (laughs) You only can do this with an injection of cash - which we did. And if we do this it means that we are fully committed to being here next year. Let me explain some of the reasoning: a Formula One team and a Formula One entry are huge assets, and therefore you have to do your maximum to protect these assets."

Surprisingly, in terms of drivers, Ravetto has faith in Marcus Ericsson whilst there remains a major question mark over Kamui Kobayashi.

"we are planning on a mix: an experienced driver and a 'hot shoe'," he says of the team's line-up for 2015. "We don't want to lose Marcus because the team invested in him in his rookie time and now wants to harvest on this investment, as we think that he will be able to deliver. Regarding Kamui, he knows that he has open doors at Caterham. Obviously he knows that he also has to deliver this year. He has to help us to achieve the P10 that we are targeting.

"We are towards the end of the season with only flyaway races left where big changes are almost impossible," he concludes, "so we are working mainly in the office to work on the commercial side. We have the technical department that is focusing on 2015, and the race team takes it on a race-by-race basis. After Abu Dhabi we will exhale a bit and then start to get to know everybody better, which is very difficult when you come in at mid-season."

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