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2014 F1

Tony Fernandes happy to have sold Caterham

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Tony Fernandes has broken his silence to reveal it is “a relief” to have left formula one.

The entrepreneur, best known for his Malaysian low-cost airline Airasia, recently sold the Leafield based Caterham team to mysterious Swiss-Middle Eastern investors led by Colin Kolles and Christijan Albers.

“Yeah. It’s a relief,” he told the Independent.

“There’s nothing wrong in trying and failing,” said 50-year-old Fernandes, who is now focusing instead on Airasia, his football club Queens Park Rangers, and second-tier teams in GP2 and Moto2.

He said he did learn things from F1, including “how not to do things”.

Fernandes admitted not focusing hard enough on Caterham was a mistake, but he also said the naming dispute with Lotus was a “major blow”.

“I never said it to anyone, but it left me feeling that F1 was very nasty and vindictive,” he said.

“Then Caterham didn’t really progress, a lot of investments didn’t come through and it started to get tough.”

Fernandes also said Max Mosley’s vision of keeping costs low for small teams never materialised, meaning “everyone is struggling” apart from the sport’s grandee names.

“Every team talked about working together but it never happened. So you’ve got to put your hands up and say ‘We’re beat. It doesn’t make sense any more’.”

Fernandes said buying Queens Park Rangers from Bernie Ecclestone and seeing how football’s commercial model works was also an eye-opener.

“Whether you’re a top team or at the bottom, you get enough money to survive, and that’s the major difference (between football and F1),” he said.

“There’s a better dialogue (in football),” Fernandes continued. “There’s a general understanding that we are in it together.” (GMM)

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