Confirming weeks of speculation, Caterham today announced that Tony Fernandes and his business partners have sold the team to a “consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, advised by former F1 Team Principal Colin Kolles”.
In an interesting development the team will be run on a day-to-day basis by former F1 driver Christijan Albers.
Albers, who made 46 grand prix starts in a three-season stint in F1 starting in 2005, raced for Kolles when the Romanian-German was in charge at Midland and Spyker in 2006/07 and was reunited with the former HRT boss in sport cars in 2009 and 2010.
The new ownership takes charge with immediate effect and Albers will be assisted by another close ally of Kolles, former HRT business affairs manager Manfredi Ravetto. The pair will take over the day-to-day running of the team, reporting directly to the board. They will replace Cyril Abiteboul who will leave the team. It has been rumoured that Abiteboul will return to Renault, who he left to join Caterham in 2012.
Up until recently Kolles had been heavily linked with the putative Forza Rosso team, a Romanian outfit that had applied to the FIA for and F1 entry for 2015. Quite where this latest move leaves that project, which has not had a final seal of approval from the FIA, is open to question.
Of the Caterham buyout, Albers said: “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.”