QPR owner Tony Fernandes set to bail out of owning Caterham Formula One team
10:29 28 June 2014
Tony Fernandes has dropped a broad hint he is prepared to bail out of Formula One team Caterham.
It is understood that Fernandes has already sold the F1 arm of his operation, ending a difficult four-and-half-year journey.
Although no details have officially been announced, in finally opting to close his account on Twitter on Friday, Fernandes said: “F1 hasn’t worked. Love Caterham cars.”
Fernandes made clear at the start of the season, at the announcement of his driver line-up car for this year in January at Caterham’s Leafield base, he was threatening to pull the plug.
Via a demoralising outburst, Fernandes said: “My message to the 250 people here (at the factory) is we have to go for it this year. This is it - the final chance.
“We’ve given you the best infrastructure, the best potential drivers, but it is now down to all of you to go and do it.
“If we’re at the back I don’t think I’m going to carry on.
“Nothing is set in stone, but after five years with no points there is a limit to one’s patience, money, motivation, etcetera, so it’s an important year.”
Fernandes’ hopes have hit the buffers, however, with Caterham falling further behind back-of-the-grid rival Marussia, who ended their points drought in Monaco this year.
Caterham, meanwhile, have gone 85 races since their arrival in F1 in 2010 without collecting a single point, and now Fernandes has had enough.
The Malaysian entrepreneur, owner of Premier League side QPR and budget airline AirAsia, has not uttered a single word on Caterham this season since his day at the factory, nor has he attended a race.
Rumours have been rife about Caterham’s future for months, notably after Fernandes issued a statement at the end of May insisting Caterham Group was not for sale.
That did not preclude an independent sale of the F1 team, with a deal now believed to have been concluded with an unnamed party. An announcement is likely in the coming days.