It’s been a tough year for Caterham, first an ultimatum from Chairman, Tony Fernandes that unless the F1 team scored points it would be up for sale. Then the breakdown of their much-lauded partnership with Renault to build a world-beating sports car.
To add insult to injury, rivals Marussia F1 scored their first points in last weekend’s Monaco grand prix, making Caterham (officially) the least successful current team in Formula One.
Now according to insiders we understand Caterham are on the market, not just the Leafield-based F1 team, but the entire Caterham Group.
UPDATE: Caterham respond to sale rumours
Back in September 2013 Fernandes said, “Caterham will show itself to be a progressive, open and entrepreneurially powered car brand that will deliver and surprise in equal measure.” He went on to say, “We’re focused on developing the right products; with the right retail experience, in the right markets, at the right time. The sales will then come.”
According to a leaked information memorandum, Fernandes is looking for a buyer prepared to pay around £350 million for the group – that includes the car company which he originally paid £9 million for in 2011, plus Caterham F1 Team, CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) and Caterham Composites.
On the surface, Caterham Cars have been growing well, with a new showroom recently opened in Taiwan and plans for another in Colombia later this year. But reports persist of supply problems due to a shortage of parts, a significant loss of staff at CTI and a lack of investment in the F1 facilities at Leafield.
We understand development of the AeroSeven has halted (including the Gull-wing and windscreen add-ons), while the ‘new showroom’ close to Gatwick’s runway remains little more than an empty warehouse.
Fernandes entered F1 with Team Lotus in 2010, before renaming it to Caterham F1 Team for the 2012 season. Earlier this year he threatened to stop if the team remained at the back of the grid much longer.
“If we remain at the back, I don’t think we are going to carry on,” said Fernandes. “Nothing is set in stone, but after five years there’s a limit to one’s patience, money and motivation.”
Sounds like his patience may have finally run out. We’ll post an update when we receive an official response.