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Hundreds of people are preparing for a move from Norfolk to Oxfordshire, as around 200 Caterham F1 and GP2 staff are relocating to their new factory some three and a half hours away by car. The switch will come during the Formula 1 summer break, which begins after next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix on the outskirts of Budapest.
Caterham entered Formula 1 in 2010, then known as Lotus Racing. For the team’s second season, it took on the Team Lotus label but was then subject to a naming rights dispute from Group Lotus, which ultimately took the legendary tag away from Tony Fernandes’ squad and retitled the Renault F1 outfit. As Caterham expands, it has gradually outgrown its facility in Hingham, Norfolk and is now preparing to use the factory which originally housed the Arrows team. It was last used by Super Aguri for the 2006 and 2007 campaigns.
“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,” Team Principal Fernandes is quoted as saying by Reuters.
The change has brought on a new set of challenges for Technical Director Mark Smith.
“It was undeniable that geography may have prevented us from expanding at quite the rate we want to," Smith admits. “Now Leafield is open, we have no barriers. We have an aggressive employment plan in place that will help us keep moving up the grid.”
By moving to Oxfordshire, Caterham will be sharing an English county with other Formula 1 teams such as fellow 2010 newcomers Marussia. HRT, the third team to have entered the sport that year, relocated its own facilities to Spanish capital Madrid in May and June of this year.
Only a handful of Caterham employees have elected not to move to Leafield.
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