Reports: Caterham F1 Team up for sale

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Reports in the Malaysian media have emerged suggesting that Caterham F1 Team owner Tony Fernandes has put the team up for sale along with the Caterham Cars company.

Fernandes, who also owns the airline company AirAsia and English soccer club Queens Park Rangers, entered Formula 1 with Caterham – then known as Lotus Racing – at the beginning of 2010.

However, since then, no points have been scored, with a best result of 11th place coming at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. So far in 2014, Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have trailed behind nearest rivals Marussia in the battle for 10th place in the constructors’ championship, which brings with it serious financial benefits.

Earlier this year, Fernandes said that if the team did not start to move up the grid in 2014, he would look to sell the outfit. “If we’re at the back I don’t think I’m going to carry on,” he explained. “Nothing is set in stone but after five years with no points there is a limit to one’s patience, money, motivation, etc, so it’s an important year.”

Now, according to business publication The Edge Malaysia, he has made the first step towards selling the Caterham brand.

Fernandes has reportedly put Caterham F1 Team and Caterham Cars Ltd. – the sports car division of the brand – up for sale for a combined price of $589m.

Quite what this would mean for the team and its staff is unclear. A number of brands have expressed an interest in entering Formula 1, with Honda thought to be considering a support team for McLaren, whom it will power in 2015.

Another potential buyer could be NASCAR team owner Gene Haas. The American has gained a berth for Haas Formula on the F1 grid for 2015 or 2016, and although he has underlined his desire to start a team from scratch, another option could be buying an existing operation and its facilities.

However, the involvement of Caterham Cars in the sale could make him think twice about this. Also, it could make possible relationships with Ferrari and Dallara, two Italian companies, more difficult given that the team is run from Leafield in England.

The team is yet to comment on these rumors. For today’s Monaco Grand Prix, Kamui Kobayashi will start from P20 on the grid, and Marcus Ericsson will start from the pit lane after being penalized by the stewards.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.