Caterham F1 sale officially confirmed

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Following a couple weeks of speculation, the sale of the Caterham F1 Team has been confirmed on Wednesday. The team’s base in Leafield and name of Caterham F1 Team will stay for what the team termed “the foreseeable future.”

Colin Kolles is back in the game and will head up the group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, taking over from Tony Fernandes and his partners at the top of the organization. According to veteran F1 scribe Adam Cooper, Kolles will be a Caterham consultant.

Kolles’ F1 history includes stints with the team now known as Force India, previously known as Jordan, Midland, MF1 and Spyker. He also was involved with the HRT team during its stint.

Additionally, former Minardi Formula One driver Christijan Albers and Manfredi Ravetto will take over day-to-day operations of the race team.

Said Albers in a statement, “We are aware of the huge challenge ahead of us given the fight at the bottom end of the Championship and our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 Championship. We are very committed to the future of the team and we will ensure that the team has the necessary resources to develop and grow and achieve everything it is capable of.”

Albers and Kolles have been linked for several years both in F1 and in sports car racing. Albers drove for Spyker in 2007, when Kolles was the team principal. Once Kolles moved to Le Mans, the Dutchman raced an Audi R10 TDI in Le Mans.

Albers is also set to drive the Lotus P1/01 AER in the FIA World Endurance Championship for several races later this year (the Lotus is not affiliated with Caterham, because the Caterham/Lotus/Lotus history is already confusing enough as it is). Kolles had been involved in a Lotus LMP2 project last year.

Meanwhile, Cyril Abiteboul has left the team to pursue other opportunities.

No mention was made of changing the team’s driver lineup, with Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson competing this year and a deep pipeline of test drivers that include Alexander Rossi, Rio Haryanto and Will Stevens, with the latter two scheduled to test in Silverstone next week.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”