Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor landroni
Editors Note: Further to the Caterham piece published last month and the ProSport interview with Constantin Cojocar, TJ13 contributor Landroni has translated an interview ProSport (Interviu bizar cu tatăl românului Kolles, cel mai controversat om din Formula 1) had with Colin Kolles’ dad. This is part of the work looking into Caterham F1, who has since made all their staff redundant. The few that will be going to Abu Dhabi will be paid a ‘consultancy’ fee but more on this later.
A bizarre interview with the father of Romanian Kolles, the most controversial character in F1
ProSport has contacted the father of Colin Kolles, Romulus. Currently in Germany, “ill and tied to a bed”, he did not refuse to discuss [with us]. Affable, Kolles senior discussed for about 10 minutes about Formula 1, but also about Radu Banciu [a Romanian journalist]. “Banciu is my favorite. I love him. Wherever I go, I take a laptop with me and watch Banciu. He is a normal person, very cultivated, but there he plays a role.” But what is the role of the son of Romulus Kolles in F1? The answers of the father, in the interview below.
Question: Mr Kolles, we would like to discuss with you about the involvement of your son and yourself at Caterham…
Romulus Kolles: I was a director for a short period of time, [but] I didn’t accept… I sent some people there, to find out everything that is happening there and to take notes [of everything], and to film.
Q: After you retired [from the firm]?
RK: Then too. [Probably meaning that the spying was happening both during his tenure and after his retirement from the firm.] I could take part in a game that I couldn’t play. And these people were three Romanians, one an ex policeman from Hunedoara, another a former footballer or whatever he was…
Q: [Constantin] Cojocar…
RK: Yes. They were there and were taking notes of absolutely everything that was happening in there and… Absolutely everything, every move, how the situation was evolving. I have written information, [that] I received in writing from these people. I paid for many months for people to spy there. So that… I can’t tell you about anything else since I…
Q: Why did you ask them to do this?
RK: I can’t tell you [this].
Q: Are your spies still there?
RK: No, no, they did their job, and reported to me in writing.
TJ13 comment: Why on earth would a director have external spies in his own firm? (It is interesting that the former policeman and former football player are both from Hunedoara in Romania.) Wouldn’t a director simply need to go to his hierarchical inferiors and, you know, direct them?
But more importantly, what makes him qualified to participate in the recovery of a faltering F1 team? He has had experience with the team Kodewa from 2000 in Formula 3, in Le Mans Series and in the WEC, but the man has never had any recent experience (or at all) in an F1 operation.
So why would the new owners put a neophyte in a key position at Caterham, one week after takeover? And to state the obvious, in what universe a director allegedly representing the interests of “Swiss-Arab investors” would nominate three Romanian spies to document all movement happening in the firm? And why is it that the first thing that he mentions when asked about Caterham is those 3 Romanian spies?
Q: Cojocar is still there, as a director.
RK: How do you know this? [Where did you get this information?] (Ed. note: This information was confirmed by Cojocar himself.) I don’t know anything. Please understand! Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. […]
Q: It’s very difficult to understand what is happening at Caterham. Some say that you son is involved with the team, others say that he isn’t…
RK: My son has nothing to do with Caterham. What I mean is that he is not involved in the sense that he was simply a “Berator”, meaning an adviser.
Q: A consultant.
RK: Yes. And when he saw what was happening, he didn’t want to go there any more. He wouldn’t accept it anymore. I can’t tell you more.
TJ13 comment: The Kolles’ obviously feel the need to distance themselves from all things Caterham. If Kolles Jr was only an adviser, how on earth did Kolles Sr get appointed as a director? If not by Kolles Jr himself? It is blindingly obvious that Kolles Jr was hardly a mere “adviser” who had “nothing to do with Caterham”. He was certainly calling (some of) the shots at Caterham.
Q: How could I get in touch with Colin [Kolles]?
RK: You can’t. I think he is in the US right now…
Q: At Austin, at the F1 GP?
RK: No, somewhere else. He also had to go in China, too. We have cars there. Lmb1 [probably meant LMP1].
Q: When he is back, could we discuss [with him]?
RK: I don’t know. I am very sick, I had a small accident. I only stay in bed, and I need to get operated.
Q: I wanted to ask you whether Forza Rossa is coming…
RK: (Raises his voice for the first time) I don’t know. I don’t know anything about Forza Rossa. I can’t tell you anything. Ask those who were involved. But I don’t know if the Romanians can go through with this team. All the games were for Forza Rossa, but I don’t know anything… I don’t know anything.
Q: What do you expect that will happen?
RK: I don’t expect anything. I only suspect that I am sick, that’s all.
Q: Get well soon…
RK: Thank you. (Follows discussion about Radu Banciu)
Q: It would be a big surprise to see your son at Forza Rossa.
RK: No, he won’t get involved [there] at all. But someone else will get involved. A Romanian from there.
Q: From Romania or from Caterham?
RK: From Romania, that one needs to fight.
Q: It’s ex [health] minister Bazac…
RK: Yes, yes, absolutely. Forget about my son. He has other matters [to attend to].
Q: Does he want to stay in F1 after this unpleasant experience with Caterham?
RK: It doesn’t matter. It’s not unpleasant, at all. At all. (Ed. note: In the beginning he insisted that his son has had enough of the Caterham affair.) You will see in the end.
But know that he helped them to obtain from Ecclestone, as it’s hard to reach Ecclestone [for a meeting], he helped them to get the approval. [Probably he means that Colin Kolles helped Forza Rossa to get Ecclestone’s approval for an F1 entry.]
All approvals are very difficult to obtain. But there was a need for a guarantee [collateral], or something like that. I think the Romanians [probably means Forza Rossa] didn’t have [one].
Q: The Swiss from Blick are speculating on a $500,000 dollars sum…
RK: No, no. More, it’s a different sum. I can’t tell you. Please believe me. I am not involved in F1. I am involved in endurance races. In China, in Japan, in America. When you want to discuss something with me, it should be on this.
TJ13 comment: Although Kolles Sr is at first eager to deny involvement in Forza Rossa, he clearly has insider knowledge about the project. Interestingly he indicates that Kolles Jr was instrumental to Forza Rossa when dealing with Ecclestone, in order to obtain the F1 entry for the new team.
We should not forget that in June 2014 the marketing director Forza Rossa declared to the press that Colin Koles would be instrumental in setting up the Forza Rossa team, and while Caterham was bought beginning of July and placed in administration in October, in beginning of November all of sudden they declare that there is no official relationship between Colin Kolles and Forza Rossa and that Kolles’ involvement with Caterham was his personal choice.
Moreover, even though Kolles Sr is at first eager to point out Kolles Jr was disillusioned with what was happening at Caterham to the point he “wouldn’t accept it anymore”, later he indicates that the Caterham experience “wasn’t unpleasant at all” for Kolles Jr. As with the Cojocar interview, this man seems to be slipping to the press more than he would have wanted to. All said, as ProSport put it, a weird interview…
And by the day it is getting harder and harder not to notice the Romanian trail in this affair…