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Fernandes to step down as Caterham team boss and says he knows successor
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Kamarudin Meranun, Mike Gascoyne, Tony Fernandes - XPB
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Nov 2012   |  4:00 pm GMT  |  20 comments

Caterham will have a new team principal next season after owner Tony Fernandes confirmed he would imminently be stepping down after three years in the role.

Fernandes’s announcement comes in the same week that he achieved a major landmark for the Caterham brand as a whole by entering into a partnership with Renault to revive the Alpine sportscar brand which will see two new models to be launched within the next four years.

On creating the then Lotus Racing outfit, with the name under licence from Group Lotus, in late 2009, the Malaysian entrepreneur made clear that his stay as team principal would be only a medium-term measure until he found a suitable successor to lead the team forward.

And with the team, and crucially its brand, now firmly stabilised in F1, Fernandes says he and deputy chairman Kamarudin Meranun have taken this as their cue to hand over the reigns.

“On the racing side we have come to the conclusion that it is better if someone else takes over the team principal role to move forward,” he said in an interview with Autocar magazine. “We are definitely better at business than finding tenths of seconds around a lap.

“It was right for us to lead the team initially and set a template of how it should be. That vision is now set and the team is ready to move forward to the midfield.”

Although Fernandes didn’t specify the identity of his successor, he did confirm there was one in place and they were a figure already working within the sport: “I know who it will be – and can tell you that today as I had confirmation earlier.

“[But] I cannot tell you their name yet. All I can say is that they are from within F1.”

With Mike Gascoyne having taken on a wider remit within the Caterham Group earlier this year – and to lead the Caterham design team in the new joint venture with Renault – Fernandes’ decision to stand down as team principal heralds the start of the next chapter for the F1 operation in its development. In September, Fernandes appointed Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director Cyril Abiteboul as the team’s new CEO.

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20 Comments
  1. Paul D says:

    Now he has more time to watch QPR get relegated.

    1. Peter C says:

      Internet black humour.

  2. Davexxx says:

    It’ll be Schumi! Hee hee hee

    1. leeschumi says:

      dont mock it might just happen lol

  3. KGBVD says:

    As I hear it it’s to be Jean-Francois Caubet.

    I think this is a good move. TA is obviously a very astute businessman, and seems to be able to acknowledge when a task (i.e. moving the team into the midfield) is beyond him.

    I get the feeling Caterham will do very well for itself over the next few years. Both in F1 and with their new sportscar venture with Renault.

  4. Owen says:

    Yes, I thought Tony had gone very quiet – no more of those those cheery, optimistic press releases for a long time now! Am a big fan of the team though whatever spin one puts on it, this year has been a huge disappointment and hopefully the new boss will push them forward. At least Tony was gracious enough to admit that he’s a businessman, not a F1 expert – hence accepting responsibility for their lack of form. Go Caterham!

    1. James Allen says:

      If you look at what he’s up to with Air Asia, you’ll see why he hasn’t been saying much about F1 lately.

      I don’t know how financially sound the team is, but the sponsors they have are serious, like GE. I reckon they operate off about €80 million a year, which is about €30m more than Marussia.

      However the 12th place Marussia got in Singapore could cost Caterham if they move outside the Top Ten in the Constructors’ championship

  5. ketthalllotus says:

    James……..do you reckon that Caterham F1 are on solid financial ground and that the 2014 engines / rule changes etc won’t harm them irreparably? I had heard that they were struggling but your article seems to suggest otherwise.

  6. Søren Kühle says:

    hehe Enter Flavio Briatore?

  7. Rachel says:

    @KGBVD…
    as Caubet had already announced he was stepping down, why wait to announce him as team principle.

    So would it be someone from another team taking a step up into the role?

    1. KGBVD says:

      He stepped down as head of Renault F1 (he wasn’t part of Caterham). A move into a team principle role is right up his alley.

      It also jives so nicely with the other Caterham-Renault commercial tie-ups.

  8. leeschumi says:

    i think a certain msc has gone very quiet recentley. i have a feeling it is him. watch this space

  9. James, does this mean he is just stepping down from a racing role?

    Is this similar to what Ron Dennis did with the McLaren race team to run the broader organisation?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s not been around much the second half of this year anyway.

  10. Oliver Hambidge says:

    Pat Symonds…?

  11. Stone the crows says:

    Fernandes has done well getting this team started, perhaps the new Principal will move them up the performance ladder. Now if they could get Mike Gascoyne to take a gardner’s leave.

  12. BenM says:

    No postings on Joe Saward’s site I notice.

    Bit hard to be an objective journalist when you’re on the payroll for one of the teams.

  13. vvipkho says:

    Today’s News: Cyril Abiteboul new Team Principal http://www.caterhamf1.com/news/2012/cyril-abiteboul-new-team-principal

  14. Flintelli says:

    Hello Flavio Briatore

  15. Formule 1 says:

    So and that happens nexts?

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