Fernandes warns he could quit F1

Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:02am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LEAFIELD, England (Reuters) - Caterham owner Tony Fernandes warned on Tuesday that he could walk away from Formula One unless his tail-end team showed significant improvement this season.

The Malaysian entrepreneur, who also runs Queens Park Rangers soccer club and the AirAsia airline, told reporters at the Caterham factory that there would be no point carrying on if the team remained uncompetitive.

"If we are at the back, I don't think we're going to carry on," he said.

"After five years and to get no points, there's a limit to everyone's patience, money etc," added Fernandes, who will have two new drivers this year in Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Sweden's Marcus Ericsson.

Caterham came into the sport as Lotus Racing with two other new teams in 2010 when a budget cap was talked about and then abandoned. None have scored points in four seasons and Spanish-based HRT folded at the end of 2012.

Last year, Caterham finished last of the 11 Formula One teams while QPR were relegated from the Premier League.

Fernandes compared Formula One unfavorably to football, saying it was too predictable, too expensive, not exciting enough and with insufficient chances for underdogs to create an upset.

"The sport has to examine itself," he declared.   Continued...

Founder of long-haul carrier AirAsia X Tony Fernandes delivers his keynote address during the launch of the company's prospectus in Kuala Lumpur June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad