Jul.5 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Caterham would not be at Silverstone if not for the team’s mysterious new owners.
That is the claim of Colin Kolles, well-known in the F1 paddock for leading backmarker teams including Midland, Spyker and HRT.
Now he has been brought in as an ‘advisor’ by Caterham’s new Swiss-Middle Eastern owners, and he promptly installed the former Minardi driver Christijan Albers as team boss.
Apart from that, almost nothing is known about who Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes sold the Leafield-based team to.
“I suppose you probably know as much about the overall management structure and the investor as I do,” Gerry Hughes, Caterham’s track boss, admitted to reporters at Silverstone.
Mystery and scepticism therefore abounds, but German-based Romanian Kolles – earlier linked with the potential new F1 entrant Forza Rossa – insists Caterham’s owners should be applauded.
“I did not expect to return to formula one in this way,” he is quoted by Speed Week.
“We have been working for quite a while on various projects, and then the Caterham plans suddenly took shape.
“But if we had not come, Caterham would not be at Silverstone. We have saved this team and done Tony Fernandes a big favour.
“We have made sure he can leave formula one with his head high, as without us, the racing team would have collapsed before Silverstone,” Kolles revealed.
As for the investors, Kolles said there are no plans for enlightenment.
“They will remain invisible,” he said.
“In recent years I have had so many problems with investors who meddled too much — at Midland, Spyker, Force India and most recently the Carabante family at HRT.
“This time we have people who leave those at the front to do the work, while the investors stay in the background.
“The names would not tell you anything,” Kolles insisted. “They are Dubai and Kuwait nationals from Switzerland.”
New boss Albers, meanwhile, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he cannot rule out making changes at Caterham.
But “Let us first see how this weekend goes,” he said, amid speculation Kamui Kobayashi or Marcus Ericsson’s place might be taken by Albers’ talented Dutch countryman Robin Frijns.