Caterham sale rumors rubbished by owner Tony Fernandes

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Caterham F1 Team owner Tony Fernandes has moved to end rumors in the Malaysian media that suggested he might be set to sell the team and its sportscar division.

According to a story on The Edge Malaysia, Fernandes was set to put the entire Caterham brand up for sale for almost $600m after failing to move from the back of the grid in five years, despite other commendable achievements.

However, Fernandes – who also owns English soccer club Queens Park Rangers – put an end to these rumors in a statement released earlier this week.

“Caterham Group is not for sale. We love what we build and we are always looking for further investment. This is no different to how we started AirAsia,” he explained, with reference to his other business venture.

“Yes, we are constantly challenging ourselves and making decisions on everything from the structure to projects within the Group. That is normal business. That does not mean we are selling.”

Caterham matched its best ever result at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, with Marcus Ericsson coming home in 11th place. However, this was overshadowed by Marussia’s first ever points in Formula 1, by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s ninth place finish.

Although the team may not have excelled and lived up to Fernandes’ initial expectations, Caterham has certainly been a welcome addition to the Formula 1 paddock since making its debut in 2010. Should there be another race like Monaco at some point this season, Caterham could follow in Marussia’s footsteps and pick up its first ever points.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne