- Founded: 2010
- Based: Leafield, England
- World Constructors' Titles: 0
- World Drivers' Titles: 0
- Grand Prix Victories: 0
- Pole Positions: 0
Tony Fernandes, 45, is a Malaysian entrepreneur who was educated in Britain and began his career at Virgin Records and then Warner Music. In 2001, he bought an ailing government-linked airline and turned it into the profitable, publicly listed budget airline AirAsia. In 2007, he started Tune Hotels, a no-frills hotel business. Fernandes is president of the Asian Basketball League and in 2010 he revived the Lotus Formula One team before renaming it Caterham in 2012.
Mike studied fluid mechanics at Cambridge University and began his career in aviation. He joined McLaren in 1989 as an aerodynamicist. His career flowered when he moved first to Tyrrell in 1991, becoming deputy technical director in 1993. He joined Jordan in 1998 and designed the car with which the team had its greatest success, in 1999. He was techical director at Benetton and then Renault, from 2000 to 2003, before Toyota hired him in 2004. After two years there, and a break, he joined Spyker at the end of 2006. He had another break and then began the Lotus project in 2009, where he is the team technical director, remaining after the team changed its name to Caterham.
A Brief History:
The Lotus racing-car heritage goes back to 1952, when the engineer Colin Chapman built the first car and founded his company, Lotus Engineering. His Team Lotus began racing in Formula One in 1958 with his cars. By 1960, Lotus cars finally met with success, when Stirling Moss scored pole position and then victory at the Monaco Grand Prix in a Lotus Climax. The team would go on to write the history of the series throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with some of the greatest names in racing, including Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Ayrton Senna. Chapman built the famous Lotus 7 car from 1957 to 1972, and then Caterham bought the brand and made the car, which is a small, two-seater, lightweight sports car.
The Rebirth of Lotus:
The revival of the fourth-most successful team in the history of Formula 1 is being steered by a Malaysian company. The Lotus Car Company is owned by the Malaysian car company Proton, which also races Lotus cars in the IndyCar series in the United States. The Lotus Racing team is a separate entity, run by 1Malaysia F1 Team, a company formed by the Malaysian government and a Malaysian consortium including Proton, Sepang International Circuit, Tune Group, Naza Motors, the Motorsports Association of Malaysia and Automobile Association of Malaysia. After a dispute in 2011 the name of Lotus moved from Team Lotus to the former Renault team, which renamed itself in 2012 and carried on the tradition of Lotus in F1.
The Advent of Caterham:
In 2011 the Lotus car company decided not to continue with the Team Lotus project and decided instead to join up with the Renault team. A season-long battle went on with two teams using the same Lotus name. Finally, Fernandes bought the Caterham car company with its Lotus 7 sports car, and eventually he decided to drop the name Lotus, and call his team Caterham in 2012. In early 2012 the team announced that it would move from its historic factory in Norfolk to a new factory in Leafield, which is closer to where most of the current F1 companies are based. The car company would leave some of its operations in Norfolk, however.