Caterham owner dismisses sale rumors

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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.”

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.