Exiting Fernandez Makes Abiteboul Boss At Caterham

Formula One’s latest change at the highest level has come with Tony Fernandez announcing his intention to step down from his position as team principal of Caterham and hand the reigns to Team CEO Cyril Abiteboul. Abiteboul joined the team in September while maintaining his role as Deputy Managing Director of Renault Sport F1, engine supplier to the F1 team.

As the new principal spoke of the honour on being trusted with such a position, it was made clear that the goal is to turn the Caterham team from midfield hanger-ons to front-running forces to be reckoned with in the coming years.

“I am honoured to take over as team principal, now combining that role with the CEO post I took up in September 2012, and I would like to thank Tony and [Dato’] Kamarudin [Bin Meranun] for the chance to lead this team into the next phase of its growth,” said Abiteboul, who is also working at Renault Sport until next year.

“We have big challenges ahead of us but the shareholders are committed and behind us to help us take significant steps forward over the coming years, and one day challenge for the highest honours in F1.

“We have an incredible spirit within the team and that has been created by Tony and Kamarudin. This spirit, allied to a strategic vision that gives us a clear path to success, is what will keep driving us forwards and we all look forward to the day we can make the dreams our shareholders had several years ago come true.”

Failing in his mid-2011 bid to take over his supported football club West Ham, Fernandez successfully bid for – and is now chairman of – Queen’s Park Rangers

Tony Fernandez had previously said that he was only going to stay as principal for a short period of time and he is not going to be found lacking for other duties to fill his time. Chairman of the QPR football team who play in the English Premier League and founder of the entertainment and leisure chain Tune Group, Fernandez is known for his entrepreneurial skills which he used to bring AirAsia from a faltering airline into one of the most successful airlines in the world.

The out-going former boss declared his support for Caterham’s new leader and said it was evidence of a continuously-growing partnership with Renault who the F1 team wish will help them on their path up the F1 grid.

“Cyril’s appointment is more good news for our Formula 1 team,” Fernandes said. “As CEO he will lead our F1 operation and will work closely with Riad, who can now turn his full attention to the continuing growth of the wider Caterham Group which is already active in the automotive, aerospace and marine industries.

“Cyril will also strengthen the excellent relationship that we have with Renault, particularly as we work towards the introduction of the new engine regulations in 2014 when engines will play an even greater role in overall car performance.”


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