Motorsport

Published: Saturday July 5, 2014 MYT 1:04:09 AM
Updated: Saturday July 5, 2014 MYT 1:04:44 AM

Caterham seek to escape last place under new owners

SILVERSTONE England (Reuters) - After a change of ownership this week, perennial Formula One strugglers Caterham are seeking to avoid finishing last in the championship this year while preparing for a fresh start in 2015.

Confirmation that work is going ahead on next season's car should help to remove some of the uncertainty prompted by this week's sale of the team by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes.

"With the new owners coming in, they have given us a direction and a remit," Gerry Hughes, head of track operations at Caterham, said on Friday.

"Our goal for the remainder of the season is to finish 10th in the championship and the design for the new car is going ahead and on schedule, so we'll look forward to 2015," he told reporters ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Caterham are 11th and last in the championship and have still yet to score a point in four and a half years of trying.

Their old rivals at the back of the grid Marussia are ninth after scoring their first ever points in Monaco in May. Swiss-team Sauber have also failed to register a point this season but are ahead of Caterham based on their finishes.

Finishing last in the championship for the second successive season would cost Caterham tens of millions of pounds in prize money.

The smaller teams in Formula One are facing a struggle to survive in a sport with high overheads.

Hughes said it was "business as usual" but admitted that he did not know a lot about who was now funding the team after the exit of Fernandes, owner of English Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers.

The new owners remain shrouded in mystery, identified only as Middle Eastern and Swiss investors.

"You probably know as much about the overall management structure and the investors as I do," he said in response to a question asking for clarification at a news conference.

Former driver Christijan Albers has taken over day-to-day running of the British-based team, advised by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

The new management team was at Silverstone this weekend to observe the operation at close quarters.

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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