Colin Kolles  Germany

  • Full name Colin Kolles
  • Birth date December 13, 1967
  • Birthplace Timisoara, Romania
  • Current age 53 years 128 days
  • Teams HRT, Jordan, Midland, Racing Point, Spyker
  • Other roles Principal
driver portrait

A self-proclaimed trouble-shooter, Colin Kolles is a no-nonsense team principal and a formidable personality in the paddock.

He was born in Romania but is a German national and at an early age went into his family dentistry business. At 33 he entered his own team in German Formula 3 and moved up to the F3 Euroseries in 2003. Despite a lack of any notable success, he was snapped up to manage Jordan in Formula One when the team was bought out by Alex Shnaider in 2005.

He stayed at the team during its transition to Midland, Spyker and finally Force India but was ousted in 2009 when Vijay Mallya stood in as team principal. Although the team struggled for points under Kolles tenure, he was dealing with the smallest budget on the grid and his efforts were widely praised. He even called upon his dentistry knowledge from time to time, and performed surgery on Tiago Montiero ahead of the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix so that the Portuguese could be declared fit to race.

In 2009 he entered two Audi R10s in the Le Mans 24 Hours and finished seventh and ninth, with ex-Jordan driver Narain Karthikeyan and ex-Midland driver Christijan Albers sharing cars for the team.

In February 2010 he was called upon by HRT's then owner Jose Ramon Carabante to turn what was a teetering disaster into a Formula One team in just under a month. He based HRT at his headquarters in Germany and managed to turn out two cars for the season opener in Bahrain, even though Karun Chandhok's wasn't up and running until the first qualifying session.

Despite no serious modifications to the Dallara chassis throughout the season, HRT finished off the foot of the table by virtue of more 14th placed finishes than Virgin. Kolles blamed the drivers for a lack of results even though he had insisted on running pay drivers and in the second half of the season chopped and changed between Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna, Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien.

For 2011 HRT looked set to broker a deal to use Toyota's unused 2010 chassis but the Japanese car giant pulled out when the team failed to make payments (the same reason it broke from Dallara earlier in the season). Kolles still managed to get a modified version of the 2010 car to the first race and completed the season. However, new owners Thesan Capital decided to move the team to new headquarters in 2012 and Kolles left the team at the end of the 2011 season to be replaced by Luis Perez-Sala.

He re-emerged in F1 at Caterham midway through 2014 in an attempt to keep the ailing team running until the end of the season. However, a debate over the ownership of the team and unpaid bills meant the team went into administration and Kolles stepped back.

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