To be honest I wasn’t at all sure when I heard about the whole ‘Caterham enters F1’ malarkey. It all sounded a bit, well, inappropriate for such a parochial little sports car company somehow.
But Tony Fernandes is not, let’s face it, short of either grey matter or pound notes, and now that he’s launched a new sub brand – Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTi) – everything is beginning to make more sense.
Caterham, it now strikes me, could happily occupy the space that was once known as Lotus Cars – and the fact that they’ve just employed Tony Shute (aka Mr Elise) to help craft CTi’s future is nothing if not indicative of such intentions.
CTi's Tony Shute and chief executive Mark Edwards
Some have even suggested that CTi could, just like Graham Nearn did when he created his beloved Caterham Cars in 1973, simply buy the licence from Lotus and keep building the Elise until the end of time. It’s a romantic sounding idea, but not one that will see the light of day I gather; CTi, by all accounts, is rather more ambitious than that, and wants to create ‘a whole new product range that has the same reputation and appeal as the Seven.’