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25 AUGUST 2014

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Article from BTNews 25 AUGUST 2014

AirAsia F1 crash

Tony Fernandes has sold his struggling Caterham motor racing team to an unnamed consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, bringing the chequered flag down on the Malaysian entrepreneur’s costly, failed foray into Formula One.

With its high profile, multi-national venues, F1 has appealed to airline entrepreneurs as a way of maximising publicity, particularly for their long haul ventures.  In recent years Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, and Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher, have tried to get involved, with no success.#####

The Caterham story goes back to the early 1970s when Graham Nearn, founder of a car sales company, purchased the building rights for the eponymous Lotus 7 from Colin Chapman.  Nearn turned the 7 into a successful, if somewhat basic, sports car with excess of 15,000 built to date.  When Fernandes took over Caterham in 2010 he announced plans to race as Lotus, but was thwarted by the current owners of the motor racing brand. 

Caterham made its debut at the Australian Grand Prix in January 2012, the name alone mocked by some motor racing aficionados.  “Colin would turn in his grave”, was a regular comment.  In 50 starts it never made a podium appearance.

For more Caterham history see www.btnews.co.uk/article/1154   www.btnews.co.uk/article/3418

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