Caterham team principal Fernandes to step aside

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Tony Fernandes announces he will appoint someone to take his place as Caterham team principal.

Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ Test day two

Here’s the line-up for today’s test at Abu Dhabi:

Red Bull: Antonio Felix da Costa
McLaren: Gary Paffett / Oliver Turvey
Lotus: Edoardo Mortara
Sauber: Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso: Johnny Cecotto Jnr
Caterham: Giedo van der Garde


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Fernandes to step down as Caterham F1 principal (Reuters)

“On the racing side we have come to the conclusion that it is better if someone else takes over the team principal role to move forward.”

Todt: New Concorde better for F1 (Autosport)

“The decision will be based on majority and not any more 70 per cent. It will be a democratic and balanced organisation, which doesn’t exist now. So for the FIA it is a plus.”

F1 diary: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (The Telegraph)

“When we left the circuit. [Sebastian [Vettel] was the only one who seemed sure we could still achieve a decent finish. Most of us were about to slit our wrists.”

Button wants flat super licence fee (ESPN)

“When I won the championship in 2009 that was the worst year to win a championship because that’s when the super licence went crazy and I think I spent over a quarter of a million Euros on my licence to race that year!”

Kimi Raikkonen victory will help secure financial future of Lotus (The Independent)

“We have now shown the world we are serious, that we can deliver and so it should help with any commercial discussions.”

Magny-Cours als New Jersey-Ersatz (Auto Motor und Sport, German)

AMuS claims A French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours will replaced the postponed New Jersey Grand Prix and take place on June 23rd, though that would mean having the French Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours on the same day.

Martin Whitmarsh Q & A: McLaren will use Mercedes engines for ‘years to come’ (Daily Mail)

“It is going to be McLaren Mercedes for quite a few years to come. It is a good partnership and it works well. We’ve been together for 18 years and it is going to continue for quite a few years to come.”

Christian Horner: "We can’t take anything for granted" (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“We can’t take anything for granted, we’ve got to go to Austin and attack the weekend. It’s a new track for everybody, and we’ve got to go there and get a good result.”

Narain, Karun to represent India at ‘Race of Champions’ (The Times of India)

“India’s ace drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok will come together for the first time since 2004 to represent India at the season-ending Motorsport festival – Race of Champions – in Bangkok next month.”

India 2012 – race edit (F1)

Video highlights from the Indian Grand Prix.

A change in Montreal (Joe Saward)

“Gerald Tremblay, the mayor of Montreal and a big supporter of F1 in the city, has resigned amid a deepening corruption scandal. He has been in office for 11 years.”

Coming to America (Again) (Red Bulletin)

“There are several reasons why Formula One hasn’t taken off in the United States. Some are due to logistics: most of the races are shown on motorsport channel, Speed, a cable channel that sits firmly in the 600-something nosebleeds on the guide. They are shown live, which means the races in Europe are painfully early for fans on the West Coast and the races in Asia are painfully late for fans on the East Coast. Sports that require pre-twilight caffeine bingeing are not destined for mainstream American success.”

Comment of the day

The Abu Dhabi Driver of the Weekend vote is one of the closer contests we’ve had so far. @TommyB89 thinks four drivers deserve special praise:

Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso and Vettel all drove absolutely superb races, it was an amazing spectacle to watch those guys race.

While the other drivers seemed to be acting like GP2 drivers, those four showed why they are absolute world class. They all deserve massive respect for their drives.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to AlonsoWDC and Paul!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Williams announced Kazuki Nakajima would drive for them in 2008.

The Toyota-backed driver remained with them until the end of 2009, when Toyota pulled out of the sport and Williams switched to Cosworth power.

This year Nakajima has been racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship and Formula Nippon. His brother Daisuke also competes in the latter series.

Image © Caterham/LAT

Author information

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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55 comments on “Caterham team principal Fernandes to step aside”

  1. Todt might be happy but to me it looks dangerously like the teams who have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to provide the entertainment that brings in the revenue will be outvoted two to one by the entities that take money out of the revenue ie.FOM and FIA.

    1. It looks like a divide-and-conquer tactic. That way, Todt will have his decisions accepted more easily, because he needs just half of the team to agree, and the change will favour multiple opinions among the teams.

      1. Dan, he wont need any of the teams to agree if he has Bernie (FOM) on side, as I read it.

        1. Which seems ridiculous to me, but I guess that’s what they agreed to.

          I mean, just the FIA and FOM have to agree, all 6 teams could say no and it wouldn’t mean jack.

          1. Whoops, looks like I skipped some sentences.

            This group will vote on rule changes that will be decided through a simple majority, and these will then be passed on to a trimmed 18-man F1 Commission.

            The new F1 Commission is made up of the six teams from the Strategy Group, every outfit that has scored a point in the previous championship, plus an FIA representative, an FOM representative, six promoters and an engine manufacturer.

    2. Just read Jensons complaint. Totally agree with him but then the drivers have no voice in matters so expect the FIA to keep increasing this little goldmine in order to pay for their empire building.

    3. @hohum – How is a system where the teams all pay the exact same entry fee fair when the largest teams have ten times the income and ten times the operating budget of the smallest teams? As I explained to you the other day, under the new system, teams only pay about 1% of their budget (and no more than about 1.6%) in entry fees.

      For some reasons, you seem to think that the teams can and should have all of the income the sport generates, and that the FIA and FOM will not only be totally unaffected by the loss of income, but they will be able to run the sport better without it. It’s totally unfeasible.

      1. @homum was referring to the drivers, not the teams.

        1. In the post directly above mine, yes. But I wasn’t replying to that. If I was, my post would be indented slightly from it.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys, which post were you referring to, I can’t see it or was it something I wrote last week?

      2. Name me another sport, just one, where competitors are charged different amounts and yet have the same status as competitor in the competition.

        1. Oh, yes, Red Bull and HRT have the same status …

        2. Name another sport where the commercial rights are not held by the competitors or the regulatory body.

          F1 is just an enigma.

          However, I like the idea of taxing the richest drivers/teams to fund the poorer one’s – oops forgot it funds the FIA & FOM (indirectly)

      3. @prisoner-monkeys, I am not against the teams covering the costs of the FIA and FOM, nor am I against Bernie being paid an appropriate CEO type salary, I am against people who contribute nothing to F1 taking 40-50% of the revenue generated out of the sport.

  2. Seems a logical thing to do, stepping down. He’s been really busy lately, what with AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Japan expanding. And then there’s Caterham Cars’ recent tie-up with RenaultSport.

  3. I can understand Tony Fernandes decision, he does seem to be spending an exceptionally large proportion of his time giving votes of confidence to his football teams manager these days. It’s hardly surprising he doesn’t have any energy left to run an F1 team anymore!

  4. I remember Tony Fernandes all up-talking the real Lotus’s chances ahead of the 2011 season and how they would be a strong midfield team and score 50 points by the end of this year. Fernandes was always all talk. Well, from then up until now, I have to say he’s grown pretty quiet.

    1. @kingshark, they all talk like that, only a few can succeed in their ambitions.

    2. Lotus/Caterham = QPR

    3. @kingshark didn’t they go as far as detailing a “five year plan?” Where they would see the first year as a building year, then points in Year 2, podium in Year 3, win in Year 4 and a championship tilt in Year 5?

      Or am I imagining things?

      1. Wasn’t that the BMW plan?

  5. For those of you unaware of the lower formula racing, Robin Frijns is a very confident, fast, young dutch driver from Maastricht. As the highest-place Formula Renault driver not attached to any established Formula One team, Frijns won the competition to test for Red Bull Racing this week in Abu Dhabi.

    Yet Frijns tells de telegraph he has been approached by Red Bull to join their young driver programme not once, but twice. “I have twice said no to Red Bull,” says the talented young racer. He explains why, “I know they play games. You cannot decide for yourself and if you do not do everything they want, you’re out. They treat you like a dog”.

    Wow, Helmut look out!

    Frijns continues, “I have in my career always made my own choices and I want to continue doing what I want to do. I need people around me who I can trust and I seem to feel [attached to]. Therefore, Red Bull is not for me, even though I have won more than Vettel before he made ​​his name in Formula 1. ”

    If you read his story to date, he sounds like a combination of Senna, Schumacher and Grosjean rolled into one – could be fantastic – SOMEONE GIVE HIM AN F1 SEAT.

    1. I hope he doesn’t nix his chance of getting a seat with his comments. Because no matter how right he is (and I agree with him), it’s hard to break into F1.

    2. @thejudge13 well, maybe he doesn’t want to be attatched with Red Bull as that probably means driving for Toro Rosso first, and we know what happens there.

      Maybe he wants to have his chance at Sauber, or Force India… which is perfectly okay. But as @ryne says, breaking into F1 is very hard, so turning down TWO offers from the best team on the grid is very risky !

      1. We saw what happened to Alguersuari last year, he has improved a lot in 2 & half years but then they dropped him from their program & i still thin he’s a better driver than the actual Torro Rosso drivers (a personal opinion) we saw also the discussion with Helmut Marko so maybe Robin Frijns is right ,he’s expected to be the reserve driver for Sauber in 2013

    3. @thejudge13 – Frijns has reportedly denied saying that. He has admitted that Red Bull approached him twice, and that he turned them down twice because he wanted full control over his career path, but he has denied saying that Red Bull treat their drivers “like dogs”. There’s a thread on it in the forums.

    4. Sounds very much like Paul di Resta. I hope he delivers on the track too.

      1. @chicanef1 That’s what I thought. You can’t ride on the success of previous wins in other formulae, that’s foolish.

    5. I wish this young man the best, even though I fear his comments are potentially “harmful” to him.

    6. @thejudge13 @chicanef1 @fer-no65 @ryne @jcost Frijns denied making those comments – this was covered in the round-up recently:

      Frijns: ”At Red Bull they treat you like a dog”

      1. OK thanks for clearing it up, Keith.

      2. Hey Keith, Frijns only denies saying the “dog” part. Everything else has been deemed as the truth by him.

    7. @thejudge13 Are you a famous person??

      1. @chicanef1 Some would say I am, ‘a legend in my own lunch box’. ;)

  6. Just read the Whitmarsh and Horner comments one after the other… I think robotic is the word I’m searching for here! ;)

  7. Pretty thrilled to learn that Karun and Narain will be racing together at the ROC. I like seeing drivers from all these different countries competing with each other, especially drivers from countries with small motorsport backgrounds.

    1. They have to compete with team Thailand (Home team) and team China before they can qualify to the final.

      1. Who is going to be on team China, HRT test driver Ma QingHua and Ho Pin Tung :-)?

  8. Er…some rumours are doung rounds that Ma Qinghua has been signed up by HRT next season to replace Narain Karthikeyan. I was surprised to see it didn’t make the round-up. Secondly, on the same lines, Ma’s only claim to fame is winning the Chinese Touring Car Championship last year. He has had almost no success in single-seaters. Should he be given an FIA super-licence? Are there any definite factors which decide whether someone should get a super-licence, or is the decision discretionary from the point of view of the FIA?

    1. *Some rumours are doing rounds.

    2. He’s done enough testing miles by now to be granted a superlicence, I guess. But as you say its rumours “doing the rounds” and HRT have already denied this being true, making it more something part of the gossip circuit than something Keith puts up in the roundup @chicanef1

      1. @bascb Thanks a lot. I should stop going to and so much…

  9. Good luck Antonio Felix da Costa, wish you the best.

  10. I support higher entry fees for the leading teams as basically it’s just a flat tax and I see nothing unfair about it. However, I wonder if this isn’t simply the price that the rich teams pay for gaining more influence on the rule making process.

    Todt’s point about ‘democracy’ seems to make sense at first sight but democracy doesn’t mean only that 50% + 1vote decide how everyone shall live, it also means that the minority has certain rights, which must be protected. And it’s clear that these changes reduce the small teams’ options to participate in the rule making process.

    If the new Concorde means only that the rule making process in F1 will become more flexible AND F1 will thus become more attractive for the fans, then fine but if that leads to the small teams being pushed out of the sport, then Todt as the FIA president will have failed.

    1. Todt’s point about ‘democracy’ seems to make sense at first sight but democracy doesn’t mean only that 50% + 1vote decide how everyone shall live, it also means that the minority has certain rights, which must be protected. And it’s clear that these changes reduce the small teams’ options to participate in the rule making process.

      At the same time, it opens up the process of deciding the sport’s future. Ten of the teams have agreed in principle to regulations that would give the FIA the power to police the Resource Restriction Agreement. Christian Horner and Red Bull are refusing to ratify it, and they are using Toro Rosso’s vote to block the regulations further. Red Bull effectively have two votes on how the sport is run, which gives them enormous power in influencing the direction the sport takes, which is unfair. And while constructors are not above using teams who use their customer engines to influence a vote, those teams still retain a degree of independence that Toro Rosso does not have. The restructuring of the voting system will allow regulations that the majority agree upon to go ahead, preventing outliers from holding the future of the sport hostage.

      1. A good point but reducing 70% to a simple majority isn’t the only change. According to the Autosport article, only six teams (instead of 12) are going to be represented in the Strategy Working Group and only those teams that have scored points in the previous season will be members of the F1 Commission. This means that Caterham, Marussia and HRT will have no say over F1’s direction at all and that’s really undemocratic.

        1. @girts – Actually, not a whole lot changes. The current system needs 70% of the teams to agree. With twelve teams, that means they need just nine votes in favour of any changes they want to make, so even if Caterham, Marussia and HRT oppose something, the other nine teams can force those regulations through if they are united.

          So I’m not sure how Horner is blocking the RRA regulations; I made a mistake in my calculations (I’m an English teacher, not maths). He’s probably dragging out the discussion period to prevent if from going to a vote.

  11. with the renaultsport and caterham deal, I’m just thinking if there is a chance that caterham will be the new Renault team, or at least renault puting more effort in the team- Team principal from renault sport or cheaper renault supplied parts (more money to spend otherwhere)…. so maybe next year they get their first point…

    1. Why would they do that when they can just support Red Bull and win races and titles straight away?

  12. Sanity prevails –

    I for one hope that the electric-only rule is never implemented.

  13. Fernandes is a great businessman yet the team under his leadership failed to achieve its goals. I think he understood that things are not going they way they should and a person more experienced in racing should take the helm. I would also expect some significant changes in their technical department, it seems that the root of their lack of progress in the last two seasons is over there. Last year their goals were largely overoptimistic, yet this year they seemed to be achievable. Now they have been surpassed by Marussia in WCC, so result-wise it’s even a step back. Caterham needs changes.

    1. From the wording of the press statement, I clearly read he same from this announcement @cyclops_pl, its good that Fernandes has realized its better to let someone who can focus on the F1 team and can tend to all the small details needed do the job properly.
      He is enough of a people’s man to choose a good guy for the job and trust him enough and give the means to do that job properly.

  14. There seems to be two Concorde issues here which are being treated separately but which when looked at together might make sense:

    1) Successful constructors having to pay a higher entry fee. This on its own is fundamentally unfair as you are charging two companies different amounts for the same thing (regardless of the fact that one company is able to generate more money from the deal, that is an issue for the buyer not the seller)
    2) Having only the largest constructors on the Strategy Working Group and those plus point scorers on the F1 Commission reduces democracy (despite Todts red-herring comment on the move to 50% improving democracy).

    However, considered together the changes make more sense. The bigger teams are recognised as the key stakeholders and get greater control over the sport’s direction, but also have to pay a greater proportion of the money raised by the FIA (the actual total amount taken by the FIA is a different matter, and I’m not sure I understand why they ought to demand more from what I would imagine is already one of their largest sources of income).

  15. Thanks for the birthday shoutout!

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