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Monaco GP: Caterham hoping to build on progress they made in Spain

By Berthold Bouman

Monaco GP: Caterham hoping to build on progress they made in SpainCaterham are hoping to build on the progress they made in Spain, and are optimistic ahead of round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, the most prestigious race on the 2013 calendar. There is no room for errors at the Monte Carlo street circuit, one mistake, and the race is over.

Cyril Abiteboul: In Barcelona we built on that performance

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul is hoping the car upgrades introduced in Spain will help his team to make more progress. “The Spanish Grand Prix was a very busy race for us, the busiest of the season so far. We raced a hybrid 2012/2013 car for the first three races of the season and then introduced a number of new parts in Bahrain on Charles Pic’s car that helped him secure the best ever performance our team has seen in pace terms since we came into the sport,” Abiteboul said.

And he added, “In Barcelona we built on that performance, introducing the first major 2013 package on both Charles’ and Giedo’s cars but, honestly, it wasn’t an easy weekend for us. We’re still a relatively young, small team and bringing such a large number of new parts always presents challenges with set-up and integration of the package into the cars, particularly with such limited time to test your ideas on Friday and Saturday.”

Giedo van der Garde - Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde: It’s a pretty mad weekend

Dutchman Giedo van der Garde has been on the podium in Monaco several times during other race events, but knows the circuit is a tough challenge, “It’s a pretty mad weekend, with a lot of guests and fans everywhere, closer than you see anywhere else in the season, but once you’re in the car it’s very important to have a good flow or you’ll lose time and increase the chance of making a mistake.”

He thinks the smaller teams have a chance to do well at the street circuit, “Monaco’s also a place where the smaller teams, like us, can do something special. It’s a shorter lap than many of the other tracks we race on, and everyone has to run as much downforce as possible, so outright speed isn’t the key.”

Charles Pic - Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic – Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic: We are running with a different set-up

Charles Pic also knows the circuit is a great challenge and said, “For the car it’s completely different than almost any other track, so we are running with a different set-up there to optimise the mechanical grip.”

The Frenchman also thinks the Monaco race is an opportunity for the smaller teams to score points, and explained, “You can hope that it can be a good chance for you to finish in a good position, but with such a tight circuit and so many chances for something to happen it’s something we can’t control so we have to be focused on optimising the car, extracting 100 per cent for qualifying and then focusing on the race. We’ll have to make sure we go the right way on tyre choice and strategy, and then we’ll see. We’ve definitely been improving over the last couple of races, so the aim is to carry that through to Monaco.”

Caterham are currently 11th and last in the Constructors’ Championship, while Pic and van der Garde are 20th and 21st in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

• Red Bull Monaco GP Preview
• Ferrari Monaco GP Preview
McLaren Monaco GP Preview
• Lotus Monaco GP Preview
Mercedes Monaco GP Preview
Sauber Monaco GP Preview
Force India Monaco GP Preview
Williams Monaco GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Monaco GP Preview
Caterham Monaco GP Preview
Marussia Monaco GP Preview

Spanish GP: Caterham to evaluate new parts on Friday, confident to make progress

By Berthold Bouman

Spanish GP: Caterham to evaluate new parts on Friday, confident to make progressCaterham will also bring new parts for round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, for all teams a familiar circuit as they have spent a lot of time testing their cars on the Barcelona track during pre-season testing in February.

Charles Pic: We made pretty good progress at the last race

Like all other drivers, Charles Pic is looking forward to race in Europe again, and he is also a fan of the Barcelona track, “I have to say it’s a track that I like a lot. Normally the weather is great — it’ll certainly be warmer than when we were testing there in February! — and I think that with how we finished off in Bahrain it will be an interesting and, hopefully, a good weekend for us.”

Keeping up with the other race in Formula One — the development race — is also very important for Caterham and Pic commented, “Everyone brings new parts to Spain but what is really important is optimising the car for the new package, for the parts you bring.”

Charles Pic - Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic – Photo: Caterham F1

“Everyone at the factory and in the wind tunnel has been working really hard on the updates we brought to the last race, and what we’ll race this weekend and at the other races this year, but it’s not as easy as just putting on the new parts and going faster — we’ll continue the hard work on track by making sure we can find the best set-up for these parts with the specific demands of the Barcelona circuit.”

And the Frenchman added, “We know everyone else will have updates, so for us it’s important that we can find a little bit more than our direct rivals, and keep that momentum up all year. We made pretty good progress at the last race, and I’m confident we’ll do the same in Barcelona.”

Giedo van der Garde: The most important thing is that we get the set-up right

Dutchman Giedo van der Garde agrees with his team colleague and is looking forward to test the new parts on Friday, “I’m excited about the weekend ahead, especially as we have some more new parts on the car that should help us build on the step forward we saw from my team mate’s car in Bahrain.”

Giedo van der Garde - Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1

“We’ll be running the new parts from Friday and we’re not going to make any predictions about what they’ll bring. The most important thing is that we get the set-up right with them first, then we can start really pushing and see where we are in quali and on Sunday. I’ve been at the factory in the last week with the engineers and in the simulator and I know we’re well prepared for the week ahead.”

Caterham are 11th and last in the 2013 Constructors’ Championship, and Pic and van der Garde are 20th and 22nd in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Spanish GP Preview
Ferrari Spanish GP Preview
McLaren Spanish GP Preview
Lotus Spanish GP Preview
Mercedes Spanish GP Preview
Sauber Spanish GP Preview
Force India Spanish GP Preview
Williams Spanish GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Spanish GP Preview
Caterham Spanish GP Preview
Marussia Spanish GP Preview

Bahrain GP: Caterham resigns Kovalainen to test new parts during practice

By Berthold Bouman

Bahrain GP: Caterham resigns Kovalainen to test new parts during practiceA surprise this week as Heikki Kovalainen has signed as reserve driver for Caterham for the forthcoming two Grands Prix of Bahrain and Spain. He will be testing new parts during FP1 and deliver feedback to the Caterham engineers. Caterham stated that the Finn ‘will be helping to support the introduction of the first performance updates to the 2013 car, an important milestone in the strategy the team are working to in the current season’.

Cyril Abiteboul: Kovalainen has six years of Formula One experience

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul is delighted to welcome Kovalainen back to Caterham and said in a team statement, “He has six years of Formula One experience behind him so he is perfectly placed to provide us objective feedback on the various types of configurations we will run and to give us an objective view of the 2013 tyres against his experience with the 2012 compounds.”

“Having invested in Heikki for our first three years of competition it would be a waste not to leverage the valuable expertise he brings. As F1 is a team sport, he will also provide support to Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, who are both doing a good job in their first months with the team.”

Heikki Kovalainen returns to Caterham - Photo: Caterham F1

Heikki Kovalainen returns to Caterham – Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic: I was pleased with my performance in Shanghai

Pic finished in 16th place in Shanghai, and said, “I was pleased with my performance in Shanghai and now the aim is to take that on to the race in Bahrain and keep making decent progress before we get back to Europe.”

And the Frenchman added, “We’re also bringing some new parts to Bahrain so we’ll work on optimising their performance as much as possible in each session. This is only the first stage of the 2013 developments we’re bringing so we’re very realistic about what we might find this weekend, and we’re not going to make any predictions about what they’re going to bring in terms of lap time, but we’ll focus on integrating them into the package we’ve used in the first three races and see where we end up.”

Giedo van der Garde - Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde: China was a pretty tough weekend

Dutchman van der Garde explained the difficulties of the Sakhir circuit, “It’s quite a technical circuit that evolves a lot as the weekend progresses. It’ll be very sandy on Friday but with every lap that’s completed it rubbers in and the grip levels improve a lot – that’s important in each session, particularly quali as you need to time your run to make the most of the track evolution so strategy will be really important all weekend.”

Van der Garde wants to push harder this weekend and said, “Coming straight after China, the race in Bahrain is also a chance for me to get back to the performance levels I want to be racing at. China was a pretty tough weekend, but I’ve had a couple of days to recharge since leaving Shanghai. Since announcing my F1 drive I’ve been really clear that the first few races were always going to be tough for a rookie, but it’s all part of the learning process so I’m as positive as ever and looking forward to getting back to work.”

Caterham is 11th and last in the 2013 Constructors’ standings, while Pic is 19th, and van der Garde 21st in the race for the 2013 Formula One crown.

Also read:

Red Bull Bahrain GP Preview
Ferrari Bahrain GP Preview
McLaren Bahrain GP Preview
Lotus Bahrain GP Preview
Mercedes Bahrain GP Preview
Sauber Bahrain GP Preview
Force India Bahrain GP Preview
Williams Bahrain GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Bahrain GP Preview
Caterham Bahrain GP Preview
Marussia Bahrain GP Preview

Chinese GP: Caterham hoping to make progress, working on understeer issues

By Berthold Bouman

Chinese GP: Caterham hoping to make progress, working on understeer issues - Photo: Caterham F1Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde finished the Malaysian Grand Prix in an encouraging 14th and 15th place, and both drivers are looking forward to the race in China, round three of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Charles Pic: We’ll be working on several performance areas

For Frenchman Charles Pic, it will be his second Formula One race at the Shanghai International Circuit, and he will work with his team to address several problems they encountered at the start of the season.

“Last year was my first race in China and I thought the track was pretty good,” Pic said. “The lap starts with a very long straight with a tight right hander at the end which is a natural place to overtake right at the start of the lap. One area we will focus on in the practice sessions is making sure the car’s very stable under braking so I can attack into each braking zone — you need that and very good traction out of the slower corners to push the cars ahead around the whole lap.”

Charles Pic - Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic – Photo: Caterham F1

And he added, “On Friday and Saturday morning we’ll also be working on several performance areas that the team has been looking at since Malaysia, particularly around dialling out the understeer issues I had in Australia and Malaysia. We have a few set-up options to try to help with that, and some ideas we’re going to look at with Pirelli so I’m sure we can make good progress on that.”

Giedo van der Garde: Shanghai a mix of slow, medium and high-speed corners

Dutchman Giedo van der Garde is hoping for sunny weather, in order to do some proper testing on Friday. “Hopefully it’ll be better weather this year as FP1 last year started out wet and was a bit damp for the whole session so I wasn’t really able to push,” van der Garde said.

“It would be good if it was sunny as that would mean we can get the most number of laps done and one thing we are going to be focusing on in China is work on improving our setup options for qualifying, using the practice sessions to give us as many options as possible for the race but also for quali.”

Pit stop for Giedo van der Garde - Photo: Caterham F1

Pit stop for Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1

About the circuit he said, “It’s a mix of slow, medium and high-speed corners so finding the right balance to deal with the whole lap is going to be key to performance in both quali and in the race. We had oversteer issues on entry into the corners in Malaysia and Australia and that definitely hit my race pace, particularly as it was impacting on tyre degradation levels, so we’ve done a bit of work on that with Pirelli in Milan and back at Leafield since Malaysia so we’ll see what we’ve achieved when we get to Shanghai.”

Caterham is currently 11th and last in the Constructors’ Championship, and Pic and van der Garde are 18th and 19th respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Chinese GP Preview
• Ferrari Chinese GP Preview
McLaren Chinese GP Preview
Lotus Chinese GP Preview
• Mercedes Chinese GP Preview
Sauber Chinese GP Preview
Force India Chinese GP Preview
Williams Chinese GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Chinese GP Preview
Caterham Chinese GP Preview
Marussia Chinese GP Preview

Malaysian GP: Caterham drivers looking forward to challenging home GP

By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP Caterham drivers looking forward to challenging home GP - Photo: Caterham F1 TeamMixed fortunes during the Australian Grand Prix for both Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, they finished in 16th and 18th place respectively, but at least they made it to the finish line, whilst others like Williams driver Pastor Maldonado had problems keeping their cars on the right track.

Charles Pic: One of the toughest challenges of the season

Pic expects a lot of support from the Malaysian fans this weekend, “Malaysia will be the first Caterham F1 Team home race for me and I’m looking forward to what will be a very busy week, but one where I think we’ll see a lot of support and a Grand Prix that really pushes the physical preparations we’ve done over the winter.”

And the Frenchman added, “We have quite a few events that we’re doing in the build-up to the race itself and it’ll be great to meet the Malaysian fans, but once we’re in the car it’s back to work in one of the toughest challenges we have all year. The heat and the humidity make driving 56 laps on Sunday pretty difficult.”

Giedo van der Garde with his special Malaysia helmet design - Photo: Caterham F1 Team

Giedo van der Garde with his helmet especially designed for the Malaysian GP – Photo: Caterham F1 Team

Giedo van der Garde: Busy training programme

Dutchman Giedo van der Garde has a busy training schedule to prepare him for the challenges of the Sepang International Circuit, famous for its sudden rain showers and high humidity. He already has arrived in Malaysia and said, “I went straight to Malaysia as it’s important to start adjusting to the heat. I raced in GP2 there last year but Formula One is a big step up in terms of the physical and mental preparations you need to make so my trainer Carlos and I have a busy program planned to make sure I’m ready for every session in the car.”

About the circuit he commented, “On track Sepang gives us an interesting challenge. We haven’t seen track temperatures in pre-season or in Australia close to what we’ll have this week and as the circuit evolves quite a bit over the weekend managing degradation levels from Friday through to Sunday will be critical, but we saw in Australia that our car performed well on the primes so we’ll look to build on that this weekend.”

He’s confident his team will do well during their home Grand Prix, “The cars run pretty high downforce levels at Sepang and that helps throughout the lap, but one of the key areas we’ll work on in the practice sessions will be maximising our pace in the really quick corners.”

“Something the engineers have told me is that since the team came into the sport in 2010 their cars have always performed better in hot temperatures, Tony [Fernandes, team owner] has said before it’s because the team has a Malaysian heart, so let’s see if that continues this year!”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview

Australian GP: Caterham to take the next step forwards at Albert Park

By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Caterham to take the next step forwards at Albert Park - Photo: Caterham F1Caterham also has totally renewed their driver line-up ahead of round one of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship at Melbourne, drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde will defend the honours of the Anglo-Malaysian team in Australia this weekend.

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul: A proud moment for the whole team

Caterham’s new Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul thinks it will be a proud moment for Caterham, “Australia will be a proud moment for the whole team. 2013 is our fourth year in F1, the first with our new livery and the first season start since we moved into Leafield.”

He is especially proud about the development of their first in-house designed and built new car. “The wind tunnel we use has been upgraded to meet our exact specifications and is now producing results that turn into definite improvements. We are continuing to improve the efficiencies and working practices within the team so we can compete both on track and as a viable business with a secure long-term future and we are bringing in talented people at all levels to keep pushing us forward.”

And he added, “We have the facilities, we have the people and we have the infrastructure we need to take the next step forwards. We will do that in a calm, measured way, one that is grounded in a realistic view of the highly competitive world in which we operate, but we will do it with the greatest possible level of energy, passion and enthusiasm.”

Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic - Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic – Photo: Caterham F1

Charles Pic: We’re definitely ready to start racing

Frenchman Charles Pic, who moved from Marussia to Caterham, likes the Melbourne street circuit, “The circuit itself is very cool. It’s quick but as it’s a temporary street circuit the cars run with high downforce and it’s a good challenge to get a really clean lap in. FP1 is always quiet as the track is very green for the early part of the session, but it evolves a lot over the weekend and you need to time your qualifying lap right to make the most of the rubber that’s being laid down.”

He too, is ready to roar after winter testing, “After the tests we’re definitely ready to start racing. We have a good idea of where we’re going to start out and I think we have a very interesting season ahead of us. Whatever happens, I’m enjoying myself in Caterham and it’s great to be part of a team that has such an exciting future ahead.”

Giedo van der Garde: I can’t wait to get started

Rookie Giedo van der Garde can’t wait to get started and he commented ahead of his maiden Grand Prix, “Melbourne will be my first Grand Prix start and, even though it’s taken a while to reach this point, I’m completely prepared and really looking forward to getting back to racing.”

“It’s still a different world, being a race driver rather than a reserve, but I’m enjoying every minute,” the Dutchman said.

“Over the season, I know Spa is going to be a great race as it’s so close to home, but for me the most exciting moment of 2013 will be when the lights go out in Melbourne and everything I’ve dreamed of for so long comes true. I’ve worked hard all winter and in the tests to prepare myself and I’m ready, physically and mentally!”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview

F1 2013 preview — Part 1: Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India, Williams, Caterham and Marussia

By Berthold Bouman

F1 2013 preview -- Part 1 Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India, Williams, Caterham and MarussiaTeams, drivers and fans are looking forward to the first race of the year: the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. After 12 days of pre-season testing the status quo of the 11 teams is still somewhat nebulous to say the least, some teams, like Red Bull Racing, haven’t shown their trump cards yet, and thus it’s impossible to predict who stands the best chance to win the Australian Grand Prix. In today’s preview: Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, Force India, Williams, Caterham and Marussia.

Red Bull Racing

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber

It’s no secret Red Bull haven’t shown their true pace yet, for the fifth successive season Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will fight for the honours of the Austrian team, Red Bull certainly didn’t want to take any chances by changing their driver line-up. The eternal question raised when hearing the name Webber, is whether he can keep up with his team mate Vettel, the Australian must have heard it dozens of times, for now, we’ll leave this question unanswered and let Webber’s racing do the talking.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Red Bull’s test results were certainly not something to write home about, they also encountered some reliability issues, but Vettel wasn’t too concerned after his last test day in Barcelona. “We’re in good enough shape I think. Overall testing has been good for us and we didn’t have too many problems,” Vettel said.

And he added, “If you sum up all three tests I think all the teams were linked in to what the tyres could do and at times it was extremely difficult to read the set-up changes and find a direction because the tyres were always pretty challenging.”

Webber is of course looking forward to his home Grand Prix, “I think we’ve done well and we have made a step forward. As I’ve said before it’s very difficult to see a real pecking order. We’ve just always been focused on what we have to do and not really looked too hard at anyone else.”

But there are some technical issues which have to be addressed, and Webber added, “We have some work to do, for sure, and we have a few things we need to iron out, but that’s the same for everybody.” And indeed, it must be said, last year Red Bull had a slow start, but as soon as designer Adrian Newey got to grips with the problems, Vettel was unstoppable and after the Italian Grand Prix won four successive races, which in the end, opened the door to winning his third successive World Championship.

Red Bull’s launch story and photos


3. Fernando Alonso
4. Felipe Massa

Again clemency for Felipe Massa after a disastrous 2012 campaign, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo signed the Brazilian for yet another year with the Reds, as he didn’t want to disturb the balance within the team by hiring another driver.

Ferrari were poised to not make the same mistake as last year, when they were playing catch-up almost all season long. Despite the many problems, magician Alonso managed to win three races last year, but he feels this season the car will be better than ever. “I’m confident I can start the season with a better car than the one we had in the first few months of last year,” Alonso said.

Felipe Massa testing the F138 at Barcelona - Photo: Ferrari

Felipe Massa testing the F138 at Barcelona – Photo: Ferrari

“It was actually in the early races that we lost decisive points, when we had a car that was only good enough for seventh,” he explained. “Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance but I think we will do better because I have prepared better and I am more motivated than last year.”

Asked what he expects from Massa he said, “He and I have always helped one another, day by day and I expect him to always be very close to me in terms of performance: what was not normal was the difference between us over the past two years, but now I don’t think that will be the case. That will be a very positive factor for me and especially for the team.”

Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is adamant Ferrari will be fighting for the title until the very last race. He expects to be on the podium in Melbourne, “Unless someone else has done an exceptional job I’m convinced that Ferrari will be in the battle to the end,” said the Italian. “A podium in Australia would be a good base on which to build the kind of successes we need.”

And he added, “For many reasons, however, Melbourne can be considered an important test bench to establish the state of play. I expect that the teams who finished in the top positions in Sao Paulo will repeat that in Melbourne, probably with a reduced advantage — that’s what we are all hoping for, anyway.”

Ferrari’s launch story and photos

Force India

14. Paul di Resta
15. Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil must be the happiest driver on the start grid of the Australian Grand Prix, he returned to his former team after his legal problems with Genii CEO Eric Lux after a bar fight in Shanghai, China. “I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well,” said the German.

Paul di Resta, overlooked by the big teams - Photo: Force India

Paul di Resta, overlooked by the big teams – Photo: Force India

“Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One. Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away.”

Paul di Resta’s job was never in doubt, and he is aiming for a podium position this season. He strongly feels he has been ‘overlooked’ by the big teams, and is determined to show what he’s worth. “I certainly want a podium and then I want to be on it again. That’s the target.”

“But”, he said, “I don’t want to luck-in to a podium. For me it has to be a well-earned top-three finish, one which we can build on. We need to do it on merit, and I certainly believe it’s achievable.” And he added, “If we can do that, then we can push for podiums and, hopefully, move from seventh in the constructors’ championship to fifth. That’s the team goal, and it’s one I believe we can achieve together.”

Force India’s launch story and photos


16. Pastor Maldonado
17. Valtteri Bottas

Williams were the surprise of 2012, after years of misery and mishaps, the team led by Sir Frank Williams, won the Spanish Grand Prix after Pastor Maldonado qualified in second place and outsmarted Alonso during the race. A victory after eight lean years, and Sir Frank was of course happy with his Venezuelan driver, but he was less happy with the performance of Bruno Senna, who was dumped in favour of Valtteri Bottas.

Valtteri Bottas - Photo: Williams

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams

But Maldonado has no doubts he can win another race for Williams. In an interview with ESPN he said, “We are fighting with mega teams and maybe we don’t have everything to be winning the championships, but I think we are going to win some races and we can be very competitive. I don’t know if we can be at a very high level all through the year, but we are doing our best with the tools we have in the factory to do a good car.”

Rookie Bottas is ready for the first Formula One race of his career, “It feels incredible to be driving in Formula One and to be with a team like Williams, with all its pedigree, is even more special. I’ve worked hard to get here ever since I started karting at six years old, but the real work starts now as I prepare myself for the biggest challenge of my career.”

After the final test day he said, “Overall, it has been a productive winter test and I’ve achieved what I wanted to from it. The car has been really reliable and now I feel fully prepared for the start of the season.”

Williams’ launch story and photos


20. Charles Pic
21. Giedo van der Garde

Caterham took a gamble this season by signing rookie Giedo van der Garde, while the experienced Heikki Kovalainen was ousted in favour of Charles Pic, who will start his second full Formula One season after his rookie season with Marussia. Both drivers were successful in the GP2 feeder series, but Formula One is of course something quite different.

Rookie Giedo van der Garde - Photo: Caterham F1

Rookie Giedo van der Garde – Photo: Caterham F1

Pic said after the recent test days at Jerez and Barcelona, “It was also important to use the tests to familiarise myself with the whole team. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone — there’s a good atmosphere inside the team and we’re realistic about what we can achieve this year so we’ll go into the season with a good spirit and aim to take advantage of anything that comes our way when the races start.”

Dutchman van der Garde saw his dream finally come true, “I know I am ready to take the step up to Formula One and all the work I have done throughout my career, and particularly in the last year with this team, has brought me to my ultimate goal.”

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul, who took over from Tony Fernandes, will no longer be satisfied with tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship, “We can’t satisfy ourselves anymore by being the best of the new teams,” he said. “I think we need to be doing better than that and we need to demonstrate that we can be doing better than that.”

Caterham launch story and photos


22. Jules Bianchi
23. Max Chilton

Marussia originally signed Brazilian Luiz Razia, but his contract was shredded after his Brazilian sponsors let him down, and Marussia signed Jules Bianchi instead. Marussia was clear about the 2013 season: they had to hire to pay drivers to survive, and that was the reason why Timo Glock suddenly left the team.

Max Chilton - Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton – Photo: Marussia F

Team Principal John Booth said about the 2013 season, “We embark on the first real test of 2013 feeling very positive about our new car — the MR02 — and what lies ahead in this next important chapter in the development of the Marussia F1 Team.”

“The incremental steps we were taking in the latter half of last season gave us the confidence to not only fight hard for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, but to feel encouraged by our overall design direction.” And Marussia have already made progress during testing, it seems they are faster than Caterham this year, much to the delight of Booth.

“Overall I think we have achieved as much preparation as possible to take us into the opening race in Melbourne. Max [Chilton] has a bit of everything under his belt after so much time in the car across a variety of conditions and set-ups. Jules [Bianchi] has done a good job in the limited amount of time he has had in the MR02. I’m not sure we could have asked any more of either of them.”

Marussia’s launch story and photos

Tomorrow part 2: McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso

Formula One exhausts: Henri Coandã must be laughing in his grave

By Berthold Bouman

Formula One exhausts: Henri Coandã must be laughing in his graveSome great inventors were already a legend during their lifetime, others, like aerodynamicist Romanian Henri Coandã, became famous after they died and therefore never saw much of the fruits of their labour. The ‘Coandã effect’ is the magic word in Formula One today, as teams are searching for means to control the airflow under the car.

The FIA has banned the practice of using exhaust gases to boost the effect of the rear diffuser, two years ago Lotus even moved the exhaust outlets to the front of the side pods, where the gases were mixed with the airflow under the car.

Controlling that airflow is important as it generates most of the downforce for the rear of a Formula One car. By using the exhaust gases and the Coandã effect, the Formula One boffins now created a curtain of air (the exhaust gases) between the inner wall of the rear tyre and the rear-wing end plate, in such a way that the air under the car is trapped and can only escape through the rear diffuser.

According to Wikipedia, “The Coandã effect is the tendency of a fluid jet to be attracted to a nearby surface. Coandã used it for his Coandã -1910 aircraft which mounted an unusual engine designed by Coandã. The motor-driven turbine pushed hot air rearward, and Coandã noticed that the airflow was attracted to nearby surfaces. He discussed this matter with leading aerodynamicist Theodore von Kármán who named it the Coandã effect.”

The VZ-9 AV Avrocar - Photo: Wikimedia

The VZ-9 AV Avrocar – Photo: Wikimedia

It is used in a variety of applications, the most famous being the Avro ‘flying saucer’ built in 1958. The VZ-9 AV Avrocar was a Canadian vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft developed by Avro Aircraft Ltd. as part of a secret U.S. military project carried out in the early years of the Cold War. Two prototypes were built as test vehicles, the project remained classified until 2012.

In a traditional hovercraft design, the air is blown into a central area and directed down with the use of a fabric or rubber ‘skirt’. The Avrocar was in fact an ‘inside out’ hovercraft-like aircraft from which the air exited in a ring around the outside of the aircraft and was directed by being ‘attached’ to a flap-like ring.

That same ‘curtain’ of air is now used in Formula One cars as well, while it is also used in aircrafts and helicopters, in modern helicopters the mechanical tail rotor is replaced by a controllable air jet to provide the anti-torque necessary to prevent the helicopter from spinning around the axis of its main rotor.

Coandã was an aerodynamics pioneer and inventor, he died in 1972 at the age of 86, not knowing that the effect named after him, would, more than 40 years later, cause so much turbulence in the world of Formula One.

The latest controversy surrounding the Coandã effect, was sparked by the design of the Williams exhaust outlets, regulations say the outlet has to have one aperture, however, in an effort to further control the airflow, Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan has come up with a solution that, at first glance, divides the outlet in two apertures. But examined closely, the piece that divides the airflow has a small gap in it, which would make it legal.

The Williams 'solution', exhaust outlet is still one aperture - Photo: Williams

The Williams solution, exhaust outlet is still one aperture – Photo: Williams

Coughlan said, “Ours is OK, because if you look at ours it’s actually not a single piece it’s two pieces. The rule is an aperture size, and ours is an aperture size; ours is one aperture because it’s joined by a small piece in the middle.” And he added, “You’re governed by total aperture size, but singular aperture, and ours is a single aperture joined by a very small slot. So it’s actually two pieces, if you look closely you’ll see.”

ESPN today reported Williams ‘are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race.’

To be continued …

Caterham launches CT03 at Jerez, milestone in development of the team

By Berthold Bouman

Caterham launches CT03 at Jerez, milestone in development of the teamA busy day at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain today, as it is the first day of the first pre-season testing days, but early in the morning, before testing officially started, Caterham revealed their 2013 contender, the CT03, to the public.

According to Technical Director Mark Smith, the CT03 is the first car produced in the Leafield Technical Centre, and therefore ‘marks an important milestone in the development of the team’. As all other teams, Caterham also had to work on their 2014 car, and therefore decided the CT03 would rather be more an evolution of its predecessor, and not a completely new designed car.

Smith commented about the changes of the 2013 design, “Among the most obvious are around the lower chassis where the side pods have been significantly undercut to improve airflow to the rear of the car. The diffuser, engine cover and cooling exits have also seen major changes and there are more subtle improvements to other areas of the car, such as the sidepod turning vanes and the lower tea-tray area,” Smith said.

All Photos: Caterham F1

But he’s already thinking about the future development of the car, “This is the package we will take to race one in Australia and as part of the 2013 upgrade program we will then bring new front and rear wings and a new diffuser soon after the start of the season.”

Cyril Abiteboul, who was appointed Team Principal last year, commented, “This is the first car we have produced since I joined the team so this is a proud day for me. I am very pleased that we have been able to allocate our resources and budgets as efficiently as possible to produce a car that will allow us to consolidate our position in Formula One whilst also starting work on the 2014 car as early as possible.”

The CT03 has a slightly different livery this season, and Abiteboul said, “From the outside, the most obvious change to CT03 car is the livery. Whilst retaining the green and yellow paint scheme that has become synonymous with our team since 2010, we have refreshed both colours to enhance their visibility on track and give them what will be, we believe, one of the best looking liveries in the pit lane.”

He’s also happy with the choice of drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. “Charles and Giedo are both young and dynamic and we expect that their enthusiasm for the sport and the team will be fuelling our growth. Additionally, they provide clear proof of our dedication to developing young driver talent and now, any aspiring driver who dreams of F1 can see that there is a clear route to the F1 grid under the guidance of the Caterham Driver Development Program, the 2013 format of which will soon be presented,” he said.

Tony Fernandes, Co-Chairman of the Caterham Group said, “Having stepped up to the role of Co-Chairman of Caterham Group I will be playing less of a day-to-day role with the team but I am delighted that we go into our fourth season in such a strong position.”

And he added, “I am realistic enough to know that we still have a long journey ahead of us, but the dream is steadily coming true. We have invested in the long-term, not taken any short-cuts and we have everything in place to keep moving forwards.”

Caterham F1 confirms Dutchman Giedo van der Garde for 2013

By Berthold Bouman

Caterham F1 confirms Dutchman Giedo van der Garde for 2013 - Photo: Caterham F1Great news for the Dutch Formula One fans, Caterham F1 has confirmed that Giedo van der Garde, their 2012 reserve driver, has been promoted to full-time race driver for the 2013 season. Earlier in his career van der Garde drove for the Caterham GP2 team, and scored six podium places and two wins.

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul commented, “Everyone in the team is delighted that we can finally confirm that Giedo will be racing for us in the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship. He has been part of our family since early 2012 when he joined our GP2 team and was appointed as reserve driver for the Formula One team.”

And he added, “He acquitted himself extremely well in both his GP2 season and his six FP1 sessions, progressively improving his outright pace, technical feedback and his relationship with his engineers and mechanics, giving us the clear justification for promoting him to Formula One.”

Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham in 2012 - Photo: Caterham F1

Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham in 2012 – Photo: Caterham F1

Van der Garde will team-up with Charles Pic and Abiteboul said, “This is the next natural step for Giedo with our team. We continue to grow as a team and we are committed to giving young talent across the motorsport industry the chance to grow with us and this is Giedo’s opportunity to show he deserves his place at the very highest level of global motorsport. He and Charles have been team-mates before so he is an excellent choice to partner Charles in what is going to be another very interesting season, and we are all looking forward to seeing Giedo continue to progress as he takes on the ultimate challenge of Formula One.”

Van der Garde was of course elated to finally have made it into the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula One, “I am absolutely delighted to confirm that I will be racing in the 2013 Formula One World Championship with Caterham F1 Team. I want to thank Cyril, Tony Fernandes, McGregor and everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen.”

The 27-year old driver reckons he is ready for it, “I know I am ready to take the step up to Formula One and all the work I have done throughout my career, and particularly in the last year with this team, has brought me to my ultimate goal.”

About his role in 2012 he commented, “Throughout 2012 I was able to fully integrate myself into the team, both through the FP1 sessions I ran at a number of tracks that were then new to me, and as reserve driver, fully embedded with the team throughout the season.”

“Now I can continue to learn at the highest level of motorsport and show that I am ready for F1. I cannot wait to start work.”

Kovalainen plays down rift with Caterham’s technical boss Gascoyne

By Berthold Bouman

Kovalainen plays down rift with Caterham’s technical boss GascoyneHeikki Kovalainen has played down the criticism of Caterham’s technical boss Mike Gascoyne, who recently commented that it was the Finn’s lack of respect for the team that had harmed his chances to secure a race seat with Caterham for this season.

The rift started after Kovalainen had said in an interview conducted by Autosport that he believed the limited funding he has is the biggest hurdle in fiding a seat for this season, and also complained thay his recent driving had gone unnoticed.

“Of course we’re working flat-out to see if we can do something about it, but the problem is the results that I’ve had over these last two or three years have not been enough to get in a top car, and then the average teams are in a situation now where they have to take pay drivers, and that rules out the second half of the grid,” Kovalainen said to Autosport.

And he added, “It’s a tricky situation that I’m in now, although people say you’ve driven well, you’ve done a good job, the fact is that 15th or 16th or 17th on paper that is not as good as someone who’s been sixth or seventh or eighth. It was slightly surprising, I thought after last season and the last couple of years I thought I’d be in a better position on the market.”

Heikki Kovalainen - Photo: Caterham F1

Heikki Kovalainen – Photo: Catherham F1

Gascoyne last week reacted on Kovalainen’s complaints and stated money indeed plays an important role, and admitted Caterham is considering to replace Kovalainen by a pay driver. “We realise what the game is. People [and teams] boom and bust easily,” he said. “We have come in and done a very steady job compared to other new teams and have been professional, but we’ve taken a step back and said ‘Ok, we are not going to get there straight away, we need to manage our budgets, manage investment and build up our resources so we are here for the long term’.”

Gascoyne, however, thinks there are other reasons the 31-year old driver still hasn’t secured his seat at Caterham, “It is actually a great shame, Heikki is a very talented driver but, last year, his management did not handle him very well and he has not done himself any favours. He has had three years with Caterham, was paid well, and he should have shown more respect about that.”

The rift continued today as Kovalainen played down Gascoyne’s comments. “I have always had a good relationship with him,” he said, adding, “My relationship with him will continue even now. Mike is a seasoned professional and he and I have worked together for a long time.”

The Finn also stated the current negotiations only concern him, Tony Fernandes and Cyril Abiteboul — Caterham’s new Team Principal — and Gascoyne has nothing to do with it. About his future he said, “At the moment, the negotiations are continuing and I am not thinking about anything other than Formula One. First, let’s finish playing the game until the end.”

“Then, when we know the outcome, [we will] think about what to do next.”

Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies left

By Berthold Bouman

Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies leftWith less than four weeks to go before pre-season testing starts at Jerez, Spain, the 2013 driver line-up is almost complete, only Caterham and Force India both have still one vacancy. It is certainly not easy to get into Formula One, but staying there is almost as difficult, as Swiss media reported Sebastien Buemi will again sign as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver after being ousted from Red Bull’s Italian sister team, Toro Rosso, in 2011.

It is highly likely it is all over for the Spanish HRT team, according to veteran driver Pedro de la Rosa, and therefore only 22 drivers will be on the grid when the season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17.

Red Bull Racing

After winning his third consecutive title Sebastian Vettel is confirmed for 2013, while Mark Webber will be the number two driver for the Austrian team, as he recently signed a one-year contract. The pair will drive for the successful team for the fifth consecutive year, but team advisor Helmut Marko is not happy with Webber’s last year’s achievements and has threatened to dump him next year.


Of course championship runner-up Fernando Alonso will stay with the Maranello-based team, he has a contract until 2016. Not much to choose, and also not much to lose either is what Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo must have thought when he signed Felipe Massa for another year. Massa had a bad start of the 2012 season, but wrestled his way back into contention during the second half of the season, and helped Ferrari to clinch second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fernando Alonso - Photo: Ferrari


After many mechanical failures, bad pit stops and other disappointments, Lewis Hamilton left the team he grew up with and Jenson Button is now the number one driver, at least for this season. Sergio Perez will drive alongside the Briton, but whether the Mexican driver, who started his career at Sauber, is up to the job remains to be seen. Although he can be very fast, he lacks some experience and often makes mistakes that cost him dearly.


Kobayashi thanks his fans, aims for Formula One return in 2014

By Berthold Bouman

Kobayashi thanks his fans, aims for Formula One return in 2014 Ex-Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi has given up his attempts to conquer a seat for the 2013 season, he reported on his website. The Japanese driver lost his seat to Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, but was still hoping to find a competitive team for next year. Thanks to his fans he gathered 8 million Euro to support his bid, but apparently ran out of options.

“I was in the position to bring a budget of €8 million at least,” said Kobayashi on his website. “If you could imagine the time I had, it was an overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.”

And he added, “Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with a competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and [I] feel sorry for [the] fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.”

Kobayashi has stopped his donation program for now, and he will use the money to get a seat for the 2014 season. “I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014,” he told his fans.

“I have no interests to race any other categories. I will make an announcement as soon as I make a decision for 2013. So, please wait and really looking forward your support for coming year, too.”

Kobayashi finished in 12th place in the 2012 Drivers’ Championship, as he earned 60 points. He celebrated his biggest success in his native Japan, where he took third place for Sauber in front of a home-crowd.

They only options left for a drive in 2013 were Caterham, Marussia and Force India, but somehow it didn’t work out for Kobayashi, who made name and fame with his aggressive, but fair driving style, and his daring overtaking manoeuvres.

Kamui Kobayashi and Monisha Kaltenborn - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Kamui Kobayashi says goodbye to Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn

This week’s Formula One videos (week 49)

The Red Bull Racing Story…

Christian, Adrian, Mark and Sebastian talk candidly about our journey so far. This is a sneak peek of what’s to come in the full story of Red Bull Racing – coming soon…


Charles Pic signs multi-year contract with Caterham F1

By Berthold Bouman

Caterham F1 today announced they have signed a multi-year contract with Charles Pic, the Frenchman who currently drives for Marussia, will be the team’s race driver in 2013 and beyond. Caterham were impressed with Pic’s first season in Formula One, and decided to sign the 22-year old driver from Montélimar, France.

Caterham F1 signed Charles Pic

Caterham Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul was happy with his new driver and commented, “We are all looking forward to working with a young driver who has clearly shown in his first season in F1 that he has the pace, race craft and demeanour to help us achieve our goals.”

And Abiteboul added, “We have been monitoring the progress that Charles has made, challenging us on several occasions in qualifying, and it is clear that he is a special talent. As the year has progressed he has performed extremely well against a very experienced team mate and we are looking forward to seeing him develop further within the environment we will provide in 2013 and beyond.”

Pic was proud that he was given the opportunity to race for the Anglo-Malaysian team, “I am very proud to be able to confirm that I am joining Caterham F1 Team next year and I’m looking forward to many seasons of successful racing co-operation. I’m enthusiastic to have the opportunity to continue to grow in a team that has a technical relationship with a number of French global companies, including Renault and Total, plus an official partnership with EADS.”

Caterham is still growing as a Formula One team and Pic added, “It is clear that the team has great ambitions for the future: the investments already made and the decisions taken in the last few months show how committed the shareholders are to succeed and demonstrates their willingness to keep going forward.”

Jean-François Caubet, Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 said, “We are always motivated to see promising drivers in our partner teams and Charles is no exception. Additionally, France remains the largest Renault market and having another young, dynamic French driver join the Renault stable will give us further branding, marketing and PR opportunities. We look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.”