Ownership of the Caterham F1 team has changed hands. Tony Fernandes and his partners have sold the team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors.
A statement confirming the deal reiterated that the rest of the Caterham Group was unaffected.
It read: "All other Caterham Group brands – Caterham Cars, Caterham Composites, Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI), Caterham Racing (GP2), Caterham Moto Racing Team (Moto2) and Caterham Bikes, remain as core elements of Caterham Group under the direction of chief executive Graham Macdonald and shareholders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun".
The new owners are being advised by Colin Kolles, the Romanian who has been involved in several Formula 1 teams including Jordan, Spyker and Force India.
The amount paid for the team has not been disclosed, but under the terms of the sale, the outfit will continue to race as Caterham F1 Team and will remain based at Leafield Technical Centre, Oxfordshire, 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.
The move follows speculation in May that Fernandes could be considering selling off all of his interests in Caterham Group – something that the Malaysian aviation entrepreneur quickly refuted. However, he did say at the time that the group is actively searching for additional investment as it “seeks to fulfil ambitious plans to develop” the company.
The latest development could enable Fernandes to realise his vision of expanding Caterham into a global car company with a wider range of models. First and foremost, the road car division will continue to develop its new two-seat sports car, codenamed C120, which was being co-developed with Renault until that arrangement was cancelled earlier this year.
Macdonald said: “Firstly I want to thank everyone who was involved in the F1 team for all their hard work and dedication since the team’s first days in 2009. We have now secured an exciting new future for the F1 team with Dr Kolles that will allow the Caterham name to remain in Formula 1, giving us all the benefits of that exposure but also allowing us to focus our resources on new Caterham product development while leaving F1 to enter an exciting new chapter under the guidance of the new owners.
“The future for us now lies with all the exciting brands that make up Caterham Group. We will be looking to maximise the benefits of the F1 platform across all our brands, working closely with the new team owners, and our core focus is still on launching the brand new two-seat Caterham, a project we will be making more announcements about in due course.”
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