Caterham F1 Team owner Tony Fernandes has spoken out to silence rumors that he may be set to sell the team after it has failed to meet his expectations.
Although the tycoon did admit that he expected Caterham to be running in the midfield by now, he believes that the team has come too far to simply walk away.
“We went in with our eyes wide open and we are too far down the line with Caterham so, no, I will not be leaving,” Fernandes told Sky Sports. “It’s not about winning the world championship for me, it’s about building a car, which has always been my dream and that’s progressing quite well.”
The team has beaten closest-rivals Marussia in all three of its active seasons, but the tables may have turned in 2013 as the Anglo-Russian team currently sits P10 in the constructors’ championship. However, with Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde impressing of late for Caterham, they could be set to re-claim this position in Monaco this weekend. Fernandes is pleased with the progress that the team has made, and he is keen on it continuing in the coming years, even if they are not meeting his early expectations.
“If we had just continued on our normal path we probably would have been in the midfield by now, so we’ve learned the hard way. But on the business side it’s done everything I wanted it to.
“I also think we’ve the right people now, but would I say we are 100 per cent where we want to be? No. We’ve a nice facility in Leafield and we’re going in the right direction.”
Fernandes refused to make too wild a claim and set his sights on a world championship any time soon, but he is hopeful that Caterham could yet score some points in the next season or two.
“I’m not saying we are going to be world champions any time soon, but I do believe if we continue this way then we have a good chance of progressing.”
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).