Caterham begins work on new Leafield site

2012 F1 season

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Leafield, Caterham, 2012Caterham has begun renovating the Leafield site in Oxfordshire where the team will relocate to later this month.

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: “It is hard to believe that it is less than three years since we first walked into the empty factory in Hingham where we started the F1 team back in 2009.

“At that point we had four full-time employees, a couple of notepads and a rather daunting joblist that many people said was utterly unachievable.”

Fernandes added: “We have had a couple of well documented issues along the way, but we are now in the middle of 2012, 34 months since work started on our first F1 car and I think we have reached the most important point in our development so far.

“Caterham Group is now the embodiment of all the ideas and dreams we had in 2009 and now, with Leafield open for business, we have put in place the next vital stage for the continuing development of all the Caterham Group businesses.

“The F1 and GP2 teams will be first in place in Leafield, and Caterham Cars will be moving its HQ to Leafield in due course. Caterham Composites will remain in Norfolk and CTI will retain its offices in Germany whilst expanding production into the Hingham site to join Caterham Composites at the base we have owned since 2009.”

Fernandes continued: “To any observer of what we have achieved in such a short space of time this is incredible. From a starting point of zero we now have more than 500 staff working on a range of extremely exciting projects.

“Our F1 team is about to make the final step to join the established teams ahead, our GP2 team has already won in Monaco and we will soon start sharing the plans we have in place for Caterham Cars, fuelled by CTI who are leading the design and production concepts we have for our roadcar operation.

“Caterham Composites will be making a couple of announcements in the next few months that will propel them to the forefront of their cutting-edge industry and, alongside the roadcar work, CTI is already branching into a number of new industries that will see their expertise showcased in some very surprising environments.

“Work has now started at Leafield. The first task is to refurbish the whole site and prepare it for a long and successful future. While that work is taking place the F1 team?s race trucks have left Hingham with our 2012 race cars for the last time.

“The next time they are back in the UK they will go straight to Leafield and that is excellent news for everybody associated with Caterham Group. More than 200 of the F1 team staff are making the move to Oxfordshire over the next few weeks and when we have finished the refurbishment, in late October 2012, we will have a facility that will put us on a par with the teams we are trying to catch in F1.

“Importantly, it will also give us the base we need to allow Caterham Group to achieve the impossible for many years to come. This is why I am so excited about what we have ahead of us, and this is why I am now dreaming of bigger, better and more ambitious plans than ever before.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Caterham begins work on new Leafield site”

  1. Good for them :) It’s always nice to see a small team moving fowards.

    1. yep, looks like it will be a boost to the region as well.

  2. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
    16th July 2012, 20:16

    Wasn’t the original plan, when they were called lotus, to move to malaysia? They are still owned by 1Malayisia aren’t they? or is that a company name or something? damn thing is still confusing!

    1. @mike-the-bike-schumacher well, maybe that was the original plan but since then they bought Caterham (the car company), so I guess it’s a sensible move to stay in England…

    2. Would have been crazy to move to Malaysia. All the major teams are based in the UK except Ferrari, and therefore all the people who work in the industry come here. If they moved to Malaysia, or Madrid for example, they’d either have to pay ridiculous amounts of money to persuade people to move countries, or employ inexperienced staff.

  3. Leafield was the home of Arrows formerly, wasn’t it? Is it that site they are renovating or a different one?

    1. Arrows the Super Aguri I think. It’s unlikely two F1 bases exists in the same tiny town :)

      1. I can confirm its the old Arrows / Super Aguri site… As TF himself just retweeted my statement to that effect!

        1. Thanks, cool. :)

  4. All the best for the future Caterham. Good luck beating out Toro Rosso :P

  5. Halleluja!

  6. They initially wanted to move to Malaysia and become an ‘Asian’ team. Apparently, plans have changed now

    1. @malleshmagdum I believe that was to do with Proton more than anything but between Fernandes and Dany Bahar everyone fell out so I guess that idea got shelved.

  7. This is good news. We know it’s tough for the little guys in F1, but HRT managed to build their own bespoke factory only a few months ago so things can’t be so bad :)

    1. @andrewtanner HRT moving into a new factory surprised me..,I thought HRT didnt have a big enough budget. Also I had believed that Tony Fernandes wanted to have a Malaysian team just like Force India.

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