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Prime Minister David Cameron takes a tour of the Caterham F1 Team base
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Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Feb 2013   |  5:57 pm GMT  |  30 comments

David Cameron has made a visit to Caterham’s Leafield Technical Centre, which is located in the British Prime Minister’s constituency of Witney.

The team, which finished 10th in the constructors’ championship last season, moved its factory based from Norfolk to the Oxfordshire site in August 2012.

There are also plans to move the Caterham Group’s roadcar division – Caterham Cars – to the Leafield base, which should create more jobs in the area.

The Prime Minister was given a tour of the factory, visiting the workshops and race bays, meeting employees and inspecting the team’s cars.

He said: “This is the dream investment for any constituency. Caterham F1 is bringing high-end jobs, engineering and manufacturing to West Oxfordshire. Not only will it create jobs but it will be a real boost to our local economy.

“On a national scale, it is great to see Britain designing and selling more cars. It is businesses like this which are helping to lift our economy out of a very difficult time and making sure that Britain thrives in the global race. I am so excited to welcome this great business to Leafield and I wish them every success.”

Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group co-chairman said: “It was an honour to give Mr Cameron a tour of Leafield Technical Centre and to demonstrate the cutting edge technology and innovative thinking that is at the heart of Caterham Group.

“Representatives from each of the arms of Caterham Group were on hand to demonstrate to Mr Cameron how Caterham Cars, Caterham Technology and Innovation (CTI) and Caterham Composites are setting new standards for innovative thinking and cutting edge technology across a wide range of industries.

“Caterham Cars and Caterham Technology and Innovation are now working in close partnership with Renault to produce a new range of sportscars that will soon showcase our world class technology to automotive customers worldwide.

“CTI and Caterham Composites are also in a very exciting phase of their development. Both companies are working across a wide range of industries, including automotive, aircraft, marine, sports and leisure, bringing their specialist knowledge of innovative technological solutions and composite materials to set new standards in their fields.”

The Caterham F1 team enter the 2013 season with two new drivers – Charles Pic, who moved from Marussia, and Giedo van der Garde, who was promoted from reserve driver.

Caterham launched their new car – the CT03 – late last month but were told this week by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, that extra bodywork at the rear of the exhaust is considered to be illegal.

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30 Comments
  1. Caterham Fan says:

    “Caterham launched their new car – the CT03 – late last month but were told this week by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, that extra bodywork at the rear of the exhaust is considered to be illegal.”

    Oh dear, that’s not a very good start is it?!

    1. Anne says:

      The same thing with Williams.

  2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Oh, politics in the F1 website…

    Give back the Falklands to Argentina.

    1. ian says:

      It was never theirs.

    2. Jack says:

      Why would the UK want to give Argentina something they have never had :)

      1. Anne says:

        The only things that bothers me about Falklands is that I don´t want those island to become a tax heaven like Gibraltar is. Other than that I don´t care to whom they belong

    3. Tornillo Trouble says:

      Er, politics it is then;)

      ‘Give them back’ – suggest you read some history, they weren’t Argentina’s in the first place! Never have been. It’s like Britain making a claim on Luxembourg. Afraid even the other South Americans find the Argentinians (at a national level) preposterous. Kircher is an international joke:D

      Personally I try not to spend too much time on hopeless causes and watch f1 instead!

    4. Scuderia McLaren says:

      look, give the falklands to the Australians… they’ll turn it into a nice party / drinking island and we’ll all be happy.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Ta, but we already have a nice party / drinking island – it’s called Australia. Come visit :)

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Already there and ‘half cut’ (as they say).

        Will be in Albert Park for the GP.

  3. JimmiC says:

    Unconfirmed reports that Caterham want to use some of Robo-Dave’s spare parts for their gearbox.

    1. Peter says:

      The only thing David Cameron and Motorsport have in common is that both hope nobody notices the quick U-turn when things are not on track.

  4. Andrew M says:

    I absolutely hate it when politicians (and the Royal family for that matter…) get to do stuff like this that genuine fans rarely get the chance to do.

    1. Simon B says:

      Mate. I live in Leafield and when my wife wrote to Emma at Super Aguri they gave me a full tour. I’ve also been around Williams and recently had a chance to bid on a tour of Enstone. They don’t write to you asking to come!

      1. Andrew M says:

        Good for you. Surprisingly that hasn’t changed how I feel one bit.

    2. coefficientf1 says:

      Tony is a nice guy, I’m sure if you wrote to him he’d be happy to accomodate a visit.

  5. Quade says:

    I hope the visit is an indication of supprt for technology in this country, because its just disgraceful the way high tech firm are being sold off, while the country titters into recession.
    We need more support for technology to boost the economy and less airy talk about benefits and immigration.
    Please, Mr Cameron, the UK is the Worlds number one (by a mile) in F1 with all its high tech wizardry, yet we are in a recession. The UK is by far the Worlds number one in the design of mobile computing chips, yet we lag behind every other country in IT.
    Please fix the system and give us dignity.

  6. DMyers says:

    Well that’s Caterham jinxed for the season.

  7. Dave says:

    It will create jobs in that area, certainly, but presumably there’ll be corresponding losses at the current base.

  8. F458 says:

    Boy he sure made it back from India quick

  9. vicnsi says:

    I don’t know if you’ve always had this feature and it just took me this long to notice…

    but I love how the JAonF1 page color theme changes (according to F1 teams’ colors) based on the team that’s central to the storyline selected from the main headlines page!
    Pretty cool!!! * gives thumbs up *

    Anyway, regarding ‘illegal’ parts on Williams and Caterham…my thoughts are, it’s only ‘testing’ afterall; so teams ought to be allowed to try radical parts if they so choose! So long of course, as said parts eventually get FIA clearance before onset of first race in Melbourne.

  10. Message I take out of this is that David Cameron would not have appeared if Caterham was not a serious long term outfit.

    Advisor’s would have done their due diligence and have decided this is a good operation.

    Good news for F1 and Caterham

    1. Random 79 says:

      Look, honestly I didn’t even know or care who the prime minister was these days (and yes that includes Australia too), but the guy’s a politician.

      Call me cynical (I am), but for these guys long term doesn’t matter as long as it looks good in the short term.

      That’s not a reflection on Caterham – I do hope to see them genuinely fighting in the midfield this year.

      1. Anne says:

        I´m afraid Caterham is not yet ready for midfield. Neither is Marussia for that matter. If you check all the testing from day one in Jerez to today they look far away from Sauber or Williams.

      2. Random 79 says:

        I didn’t say they would, only that I *hoped* they would.

        I have to agree with you Anne.

        They’ve had a few years to settle in, but now it seems like they’re actually starting to go backwards.

    2. Stephen green says:

      Lol

  11. Melscott says:

    Did he go there for a seat fitting? Maybe he could get the drive next year !!!!!!!!

    1. Michael Powell says:

      He can’t pay enough to keep them afloat.

  12. Michael Powell says:

    With a fifty year old technology like carbon composites, a fifty year old road car design, and a place at the tail end of the grid, there is nothing to boast about, even if you are working in a century old industry like internal combustion.

    We have some top teams in F1 based in the UK, (Lotus, McLaren, Williams, Mercedes, Red Bull) but we also have some real duffers.

  13. Aaron James says:

    It’d be nice to see more higher end prominence on the Podium- if memory serves last year, 1st place on the Podium was presented by Kenneth Clarke, then Minister of Justice.

    You see places like Bahrain have their leading royals do it, I wish we could have that over here.

    While not a habitual Cameron fan, It would be nice to see our PM give out first place- or even better The Queen. I think a podium of The Queen/PM, Murray Walker and Alan Gow would be excellent.

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