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Fernandes blames "big teams" for failure

NEWS STORY
29/10/2014

Caterham F1 team founder Tony Fernandes believes the sport's big teams must take some of the responsibility for his outfit's demise.

As the dream that was Lotus and then Caterham lies in ruins, its workers facing unemployment, suppliers hoping that some of the monies owed might be salvaged and lawyers looking likely to come out of the whole sorry saga the best rewarded, Fernandes has hit out at the sport.

"People can blame whoever, but the big teams are as much at fault as anyone," he told Sky Sports. "The gap has become way too big and it's money. So I thought, 'Well, I can't compete', but I can compete at QPR, I can compete at Air Asia.

"The sport has to examine itself as well," he continued. "Ultimately, we couldn't carry on and we would have eventually gone into administration anyway or closed down the team."

Ignoring the fact that earlier this week he threatened to walk out on QPR, the fact is that with his obviously successful background the Malaysian businessman should have had some idea of what he was walking in to.

Yes, along with Virgin and HRT, he was enticed by the promise of a budget cap that would level the playing field, but not for nothing is the expression 'The Piranha Club' used in reference to the cabal at the right end of the paddock.

The self interest of teams is nothing new, whilst the paddock is littered with the rotting carcasses of teams that tried and failed.

Caterham was never going to challenge the big teams, it would take a move of seismic proportions within the sport for that to happen, but it could have made its mark in the midfield.

In his first season Fernandes was clearly revelling in the limelight, proudly showing off the famous cap given to him by (Lotus founder) Colin Chapman's family. However, as time went on, and the name changed, less and less was seen of Fernandes, he was clearly losing interest, and soon the quit threats began.

Of course, this negativity filters down, and like a ship without a captain, Caterham began to flounder.

Yes, one can point the finger of blame at the big teams, Bernie Ecclestone, CVC and the FIA, however, for the most part Fernandes knew exactly what he was getting in to, he will have heard the worn-out cliche of; 'how do you make a small fortune from F1...'

However, despite the sport's abandoning of the budget cap, which was down to the self interest of the big teams, he knew precisely what he was getting in to.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hondawho?, 31/10/2014 11:19

"Totally agree Tafferel. Is this called, fraud I think so? He will get his comeuppance sooner or later. You can run but you cannot hide. It would be interesting to look into the books of his "Malaysian partners" ventures and also of course his airline to see how financially stable they all are. Nothing to do with F1 of course getting back to topic, just think of the guys back at the factory how they are feeling and of course the years of establishment of Caterham Cars which he has plundered and ruined . He still owns that companyI think, for now anyway."

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2. Posted by Tafferel, 31/10/2014 9:03

"Perhaps he would like to explain why he felt the need to split his F1 operation into two companies? From the outside it looks like Caterham Sports ran up all the debts with suppliers in the pursuit of building and running the cars, whilst 1MRT held the entry and grid slots. Then Caterham blames 1MRT for not paying them once the sale fell through. Tony walk away blaming the big boys, where in fact back in the day he ran both firms and used the two companies to distance himself from running up a big tab. It's all very well for him to take the moral high ground now, but it looks like he established the two firms with this day in mind."

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3. Posted by ape, 30/10/2014 14:17

"At least he tried. Right or wrong . I respect that."

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4. Posted by Hondawho?, 30/10/2014 13:17

"Is Fernandez a fraud? He has fortune of 400m so we are led to believe? Would you believe this man?

First he leaves F1 (his "Team Lotus" entry was alledgedly a scam also) and then buys a football club and is now leaving or threatening to leave that as well. Will his Moto2 follow suit? Leader, the only thing he leads are supporters of the real Lotus and QPR away from the sport.

The mans a joke. Sport is better off without him."

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5. Posted by emcomments, 30/10/2014 12:27

""However, despite the sport's abandoning of the budget cap, which was down to the self interest of the big teams, he knew precisely what he was getting in to."

That's a rather big however!

The real problem is the knock-on effect on the other struggling teams of Caterham and Marussia going in to administration. Suppliers are now going to be a lot more careful about extending credit to other teams, especially the one already thought to be struggling (Sauber, Force India, Lotus, and others?).

If some of those go to the wall, will that be OK because "they knew what they are getting in to"? Would a grid of six (or even five as Toro Roso may be sold) teams be attractive to watch?
"

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6. Posted by my tyres are going off, 30/10/2014 12:10

"Unless you are a zillionair racing nut why run a privateer F1 team? "

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