The Caterham F1 Team has announced that "Fernandes and his partners have sold the team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors." Although the identity of those investors yet to be revealed, they were advised by veteran team operator Colin Kolles. The new team will be run by Dutch racing driver Christijan Albers, who drove in F1 for Midland/Spyker with limited success from 2005 to 2007 (he also won several races before that in DTM). Albers was set to drive in the nascent Formula E series, but has apparently changed his plans.
We're not sure at this stage how closely involved Kolles will be, however, or how this effects his plans to launch his own Romanian F1 team. For the time being, however, Albers is calling the shots, replacing outgoing team principal Cyril Abiteboul, with former HRT commercial boss Manfredi Ravetto joining the team as well.
The move follows a cryptic tweet posted by Fernandes last week, saying "F1 hasn't worked, but love Caterham Cars" right before shutting down his Twitter account. This is the second aborted venture from which Fernandes and Caterham have divorced themselves recently, having withdrawn just weeks ago from its Alpine partnership with Renault, which continues to supply the struggling F1 team with engines that haven't proven competitive.
The change in ownership takes effect immediately, but the team will carry on using the Caterham name at least until the end of the season. "Our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 Championship," said Albers. Currently the team is in eleventh and last place in the constructors' standings with zero points, behind Sauber and Marussia.
Leafield Technical Centre, UK - 2nd July 2014
Caterham F1 Team is pleased to confirm that Tony Fernandes and his partners have sold the team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, advised by former F1 Team Principal Colin Kolles.
Under the terms of the sale, the team will continue to race as Caterham F1 Team and will remain based at Leafield for the foreseeable future.
The new ownership takes charge with immediate effect. Former Dutch F1 driver, Christijan Albers, assisted by Manfredi Ravetto, will take over the day-to-day running of the team, reporting directly to the board and replacing Cyril Abiteboul who will leave the team to pursue new challenges.
Christijan Albers:"We are aware of the huge challenge ahead of us given the fight at the bottom end of the Championship and our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 Championship. We are very committed to the future of the team and we will ensure that the team has the necessary resources to develop and grow and achieve everything it is capable of."