The sale of Caterham F1 to an unnamed group of investors (often described as Swiss and Middle Eastern), the team boss who took over from Cyril Abiteboul was none other than former F1 driver Christian Albers himself. That didn’t last long as it was announced this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix that he would be leaving the team. What was that? A month or two?
It puts serious questions in the minds of fans about the future of the team but then former Williams F1 CEO, Adam Parr, sent a tweet that had even more of us scratching our heads as to if he knew something we didn’t:
This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars.
— Adam Parr (@adam_s_parr) September 7, 2014
It’s either an odd hunch or some inside info that he knows about the future of F1 but either way, Caterham’s issues with the sale of the team (more like dumping of the team by Tony Fernandes) and the loss of Albers along with former employees filing legal cases against them for unfair termination, one wonders if the team will see the light of day come 2015. As we don’t know much about the new owners, it’s hard to know what their commitment truly is for the long game.
If Parr is right, then there is another team that won’t be on the grid in 2015 and most bets would be on Marussia. This would mark a very bitter end to an initiative launched by former FIA president Max Mosely to bring new teams into F1 at affordable cost structures.
Caterham were one of the teams, along with Marussia, and HRT already left the series. USF1 was stillborn and never made it to the grid. This is also at a time when American Gene Haas is trying to launch his team called Haas F1 in 2016.
We’ve heard Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo speak about third-car options and how this would be a better scenario for F1 than allowing small teams with anemic budgets to enter the series because they simply cannot compete. As you can imagine, there are fans and detractors of this idea both in the stands as well as in the pit lane. Regardless, it wouldn’t be the first time teams have run three cars.
This idea is apparently favored over the concept of customer cars and for many reasons. I can see why a person like Sir Frank Williams would not like the idea of customer teams. However, I tend to recall the era of customer cars very fondly (so should Frank, without them he would never have made it into F1) with the March chassis (another Mosley operation) and many others who made F1 fun to watch but also hectic as teams came and went like a red-shirted character from the 1960’s Star Trek show. After all, it is a “constructor’s” title up for grabs and customer teams aren’t building their own cars.
Could this be the end of F1 as we know it? If Marussia and Caterham bow out, who would fill the gap and would there be a need to fill the gap? Would you be just as pleased to see 16 cars fart their way around circuits saving tires and fuel or is that the last straw?
I’m old, senile and most likely foul smelling but I would much rather see 20-24 cars screaming around the circuit full-tilt trying to win races and using up all of those components they are made of in the process. I don’t like seeing Lewis Hamilton tiptoe around, I like to see him 10/10th’s every lap and Alonso putting moves on people that only true legends of the sport can do.
F1’s quest for road relevance may have brought Honda back but what does it profit a series if it gains the world but loses its soul? Yeah, that’s horribly out of context but I think you get the point.