Following the settlement of the dispute between Lotus Cars and the Team Lotus F1 conglomerate, Tony Fernandes and his group has gone ahead with ambitious plans to build Caterham Cars into an engineering empire. It many ways, it appears to mirror the road, race and engineering disciplines as Lotus, so is it possible that Fernandes hopes to get the last word in the proceedings?
At the Brazilian F1 GP, the new Caterham Group was officially confirmed as the parent company for the range of automotive, motor racing, technology and innovation companies that will sit within a single business under Group CEO, Riad Asmat.
Eight months after the purchase of Caterham Cars, Chairman Tony Fernandes announced the creation of the new umbrella brand while in Sao Paulo. "We have been talking for some time about our plans for Caterham in all its guises, from the road car company to Formula 1 and GP2, and in the technology, design and innovation fields. Now, with the announcement about the rebranding in Formula One to Caterham F1 Team for 2012 and beyond, we are in a position to give a more in-depth explanation of how the Caterham Group is taking shape," explained Fernandes.
At launch, Caterham Group will consist of four main areas: Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI) and Caterham Composites.
Under the guidance of Chief Executive, Ansar Ali, Caterham Cars has not only been busy expanding into new markets like India and China, readying the exciting SP/300.R sports prototype for 2012, but laying the foundations for a completely new product range that will see the first all-new Caterham road car launched in 2014.
Caterham F1 Team includes Caterham Racing as the new name for the Group's GP2 outfit. The F1 team will act as a focal point for a development program that encompasses 700-plus Caterham Seven racecars around the world, as well as various motor racing formulae from karting, GP3, World Series by Renault and up to F1.
The third strand of Caterham Group is Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI), which was launched in September. In addition to assisting Caterham Cars in the development of the next generation of sportscars, the expanding team of engineering experts is undertaking advanced projects for external companies operating within the automotive and aerospace sectors, including a radical new in-flight entertainment system.
Caterham Composites is said to already be working on projects across the aerospace, nautical, motorsport and automotive industries. "With those four arms in place, and more to be announced in due course, we have a dynamic group of businesses already working together that gives a clear vision of what our long-term strategy is in their respective fields, and as one entity under Caterham Group," Fernandes added.
"The Group will be based across a number of centers of excellence - Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team and our motorsport interests will be based in one location that we are close to announcing, and our technology and composites interests will be based in Norfolk."