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Abu Dhabi GP: Caterham hoping to unlock potential of car upgrades


By Berthold Bouman

Mixed results for Caterham today at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit, a bad day at the office for Dutchman Giedo van der Garde, who had to sit out his stint in the Caterham during the morning session. When he went out for his usual installation lap, he encountered electronic problems, returned to the garage and was sidelined for the rest of the session.

Not a good day for Giedo van der Garde

“Obviously that was a pretty frustrating session, but these things sometimes happen. As soon as I went out on the installation lap I could hear that the engine sounded different to my previous FP1 runs and from what I understand the problem looks like it’s to do with the electronic boxes or the looms,” said van der Garde. Fortunately the 27-year old Dutchman will have another two days in the Caterham during next week’s Young Driver Test, also at the Abu Dhabi circuit.

For Heikki Kovalainen things went smooth during both Friday sessions. “In the first session we ran a number of the new parts we brought here and then did comparison runs in FP2, as well as trying the soft tyres on a performance run, and a longer stint at the end of the session,” said the Finn.

And he further explained, “The key to unlocking the potential of the upgrades is finding the right set-up and with the amount of laps we ran over both FP1 and FP2 today we’ve generated enough data to give us a good chance to find something we can work with tomorrow.” Which means the Caterham engineers will be sifting through the car data all night, and hopefully find a good set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying.

Vitaly Petrov was happy the Caterham mechanics found the problem van der Garde encountered in the morning, and he was able to do three runs this afternoon. “It was all sorted out by the start of FP2 so we could get on with the program immediately. On my first run we had a few handling issues to sort out so we made some mechanical changes and saw an immediate improvement on the second run,” said Petrov.

And he added, “By the time we put on the soft tyres the times were getting quicker with every lap and I think we found a balance that’s working for us around here.”

Kovalainen was 19th in FP1 and 20th in FP2, while Petrov was 19th in FP2.

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