Caterham Group has today confirmed that work has started on
Monday July 16th at the Leafield Technical Centre in Oxfordshire,
the new global base for the motorsport, automotive and technology
business that comprises Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Racing (GP2),
Caterham Cars, Caterham Composites and CTI (Caterham Technology and
Innovation). A complete renovation and refurbishment of Caterham
Group's new home, in the middle of what is known as 'Motorsport
Valley', has now started and the first arm of the business to move
into Leafield will be Caterham F1 Team which will return to
Oxfordshire after the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July.
It is less than three years since the first building blocks of
what has now become Caterham Group were put in place by Tony
Fernandes and his fellow shareholders when they were granted entry
to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship in September 2009.
With work now starting at Leafield Tony Fernandes is excited to see
how far his dream has come in under 36 months: "It is hard to
believe that it is less than three years since we first walked into
the empty factory in Hingham where we started the F1 team back in
2009. At that point we had four full-time employees, a couple of
notepads and a rather daunting joblist that many people said was
utterly unachievable. While the F1 team was building up fast, we
also had a plan to lay the foundations for an automotive and
technology focused group of businesses that would allow us to
compete with some of the most famous motorsport and car brands on
and off track, through innovation, passion and value. We wanted to
support the road and racing operations with a range of associated
companies that would specialise in the high-tech materials that are
so prevalent in F1, allowing us to tap into a creative and
technical pool of talent that are usually focused on winning on
track or improving handling on the road, applying their expertise,
ideas and knowledge to any industry that could benefit from
"We have had a couple of well documented issues along the way, but
we are now in the middle of 2012, 34 months since work started on
our first F1 car and I think we have reached the most important
point in our development so far. Caterham Group is now the
embodiment of all the ideas and dreams we had in 2009 and now, with
Leafield open for business, we have put in place the next vital
stage for the continuing development of all the Caterham Group
"The F1 and GP2 teams will be first in place in Leafield, and
Caterham Cars will be moving its HQ to Leafield in due course.
Caterham Composites will remain in Norfolk and CTI will retain its
offices in Germany whilst expanding production into the Hingham
site to join Caterham Composites at the base we have owned since
'09. These are important moves, not only for the incredible staff
we have in place in each of our businesses, but also for the
message it sends to our partners, suppliers, local communities and
our competition. We are now a multi-faceted group of world-leading
companies existing in harmony within a clear group structure that
provides enormous room for growth. Under the Leafield HQ we have
another major site fully operational in Hingham and through the
nature of our work and the people we employ, we have a truly global
"To any observer of what we have achieved in such a short space of
time this is incredible. From a starting point of zero we now have
more than 500 staff working on a range of extremely exciting
projects. Our F1 team is about to make the final step to join the
established teams ahead, our GP2 team has already won in Monaco and
we will soon start sharing the plans we have in place for Caterham
Cars, fuelled by CTI who are leading the design and production
concepts we have for our roadcar operation. Caterham Composites
will be making a couple of announcements in the next few months
that will propel them to the forefront of their cutting-edge
industry and, alongside the roadcar work, CTI is already branching
into a number of new industries that will see their expertise
showcased in some very surprising environments.
"Work has now started at Leafield. The first task is to refurbish
the whole site and prepare it for a long and successful future.
While that work is taking place the F1 team's race trucks have left
Hingham with our 2012 race cars for the last time. The next time
they are back in the UK they will go straight to Leafield and that
is excellent news for everybody associated with Caterham Group.
More than 200 of the F1 team staff are making the move to
Oxfordshire over the next few weeks and when we have finished the
refurbishment, in late October 2012, we will have a facility that
will put us on a par with the teams we are trying to catch in F1.
Importantly, it will also give us the base we need to allow
Caterham Group to achieve the impossible for many years to come.
This is why I am so excited about what we have ahead of us, and
this is why I am now dreaming of bigger, better and more ambitious
plans than ever before."
Riad Asmat, Caterham Group CEO: "I share Tony's excitement about
the future for Caterham Group and am also delighted that Leafield
is now up and running. We have worked incredibly hard over the last
three years to build a range of businesses that complement each
other, have transferrable technology and skills-bases and allow us
to attract the best people for each role. Physically, Leafield is
the next logical step in the growth of Caterham Group, its location
alone allows us to access the pool of talent that is already in
place throughout the UK's motorsport valley, but it also plays an
important role psychologically. An investment of the level the
shareholders have made in Leafield is a sure sign of how long-term
their plans for the Group are, and how serious they are about
achieving success across all our businesses. We could have taken
the easy route - stayed in Hingham, worked with related partners on
projects that would have still been cutting edge, but to be able to
do everything we want under one banner and with the sort of HQ we
now have in Leafield as the jewel in the crown - that takes huge
commitment and an unshakable determination to be successful.
"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us but the challenge is what
makes what we do so rewarding. In F1 we are closer than ever to
achieving what we are still told is impossible and joining the
fight with teams that, collectively, have been in the sport for
centuries. On the road we are in the final stages of confirming our
first roadcar ventures since we took over Caterham Cars and
Composites and CTI are recruiting daily to help them meet the
growing demands of their existing and new clients, inside the group
and across a variety of industry sectors. Now, with Leafield open,
we can invite the world's most prestigious brands from any industry
sector to share our vision at our new home."
Mark Smith, Technical Director Caterham F1 Team: "In common with
most of the current employees of the F1 team I have moved back
nearer to our new base in Leafield and I am very excited about the
future this gives us, not just for the F1 team but Caterham Group
as a whole. The Leafield site is perfect for our needs in F1, GP2
and all our interests in motorsport now and in the future, and it
also gives us the platform to expand into any industry that sees
that we can provide new ideas and world-class performance.
"One of the immediate benefits of the move is in attracting people
to come and work with us. Since I joined the team in 2011 I have
been aware that there have been people we wanted to bring to
Norfolk who were reluctant to move their families out of
'motorsport valley' where all the UK based F1 teams, and their
associated supply chains and partners, are based. There has never
been an issue with people not sharing our vision, being as excited
about our future as everyone who works with Tony and Riad are, but
it was undeniable that geography may have prevented us from
expanding at quite the rate we want to. Now Leafield is open we
have no barriers. We are in the heart of the motorsport industry,
not only in the UK but worldwide, and we have an aggressive
employment plan in place that will help us keep moving up the grid.
With so much investment made in giving us this platform to work
from now it is down to the people who work in Caterham Group and
everybody we work with to help us keep achieving our goals and we
could not ask for better motivation than that."
Caterham F1 press release
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