Riad Asmat, who was one of the founders of Tony Fernandes’ version of Team Lotus, has been promoted to a CEO role in a move which brings the recently acquired Caterham Cars operation and the GP2 team all under one umbrella. Asmat will be in charge of anything to do with automotive and engineering. Formerly he was CEO of just the F1 team.
“In F1 the goal remains the same,” said Asmat. “Grow over the long-term and achieve our goals in realistic timeframes. Next year we need to take another step up and we have the building blocks in place to enable us to do that. On the road, we will be producing cars that are efficient, light, technologically innovative and, crucially, cars 21st century consumers across the globe want to buy.”
A Malaysian who was educated in the USA, Asmat has worked for Nike and for Sepang International Circuit. He also has inside knowledge of Group Lotus as he used to work in the managing director’s office at Proton, owners of Group Lotus and was responsible for the company’s motor sport programme in 2006, which included A1 GP, prior to joining up with Fernandes to launch Team Lotus in 2009.
Meanwhile Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has explained this week why he bought the Queens Park Rangers football club, which plays in the English Premier League,
“While (QPR) is another new challenge it also opens up some very exciting opportunities for all the businesses I am involved with,” said Fernandes. “One of the most interesting areas we will be looking at straight away is what we can learn in Team Lotus about the interaction between QPR and its fans – across the whole football industry there is a much more integrated day to day relationship with clubs’ supporter bases than F1 and its teams have with their fans and I think that we can learn a huge amount very quickly about how we can be even more accessible to our fans than Team Lotus has been since day one.”
It will be interesting to see how, if at all, he tries to join up the football team and the F1 team from a promotional and marketing point of view, both of which are competitors in sports series with huge global media reach. This is something that hasn’t been done yet.