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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: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morning

By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morningQualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit has been postponed until Sunday morning, as rain storms caused havoc on the Melbourne track, the start of the first session was already postponed due to the rain, after several accidents the FIA decided to continue qualifying on Sunday morning.

During Q1 several drivers crashed, yellow flags came out several times and in the end FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to postpone qualifying as the conditions on track became too dangerous. When qualifying was stopped, Nico Rosberg was leading Q1 for Mercedes.

Both Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde lost their front wing, Pic’s crash was worst as his car sustained a lot of damage when it hit the barrier at high speed. Miraculously, both drivers made it back to the pits with their damaged car.

Pic commented, “We made the call to switch to inters with about five minutes left of the session and for the first lap it was very tricky — there was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on track, but it improved pretty quickly and I was starting to push before I touched the white line which caused me to spin and I made contact with the barrier which meant I had to pit.”

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Felipe Massa was the next driver to crash, he lost it at Turn 11 and the Ferrari F138 smashed into the barrier twice, despite the damage, the Brazilian was able to limp back to the garage for repairs.

Not much later Lewis Hamilton lost it at Turn 2 and hit the barrier backwards. He was able to get his beached Mercedes on track again, and later said, “It was pretty straightforward really, I just lost the back end and was in the wall.” And he added, “Fortunately I got going again — I was beached actually, I was stuck and luckily I put it in reverse and reversed half way up the bloody track! I can dust those kind of things off and keep looking forward to tomorrow.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the same spot Massa had earlier crashed, Turn 11, he touched the white line, and spun into the barrier, causing a lot of damage to his brand new Sauber C32. Gutierrez said about the crash, “Unfortunately I made a mistake and feel sorry for the whole team. I feel very comfortable with the car and this is something that is a step forward for me. Now, of course, I need to avoid this kind of mistake and try to make the most of my potential.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado made a trip through the grass, but were able to bring their cars back to the garage. Perez said, “I think the FIA stewards made the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3. The conditions were becoming too dangerous — in terms of low visibility as well as low grip.”

Jenson Button agreed and added, “I believe the FIA had no choice. It was the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3 until tomorrow, for safety reasons.”

Q2 will start at 11am local time tomorrow, hopefully, under more favourable conditions, the local weather forecast says it should be dry tomorrow morning at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

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

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.”

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.”

Busy Singapore Grand Prix weekend for FIA Stewards

By Berthold Bouman

A busy weekend for the FIA Stewards present at the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, this time ex-Formula One driver Allan McNish represented the drivers.

Busy weekend for the FIA in Singapore

On Saturday Marussia driver Charles Pic, who overtook a car under red flags during the final free practice session, got a 20-second penalty to be added to the driver’s elapsed race time of the Japanese Grand Prix, in addition Pic and his team engineer have to ‘perform 1 day’s Community Service for FIA Action for Road Safety campaign at the instruction of the FIA President’.

Also on Saturday it was announced Pedro de la Rosa had incurred a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, Bruno Senna got the same penalty after qualifying for changing the gearbox after he had crashed into the wall.

Mark Webber was reprimanded for leaving the track twice at the end of Q3, according to the FIA Stewards Webber could not offer ‘a justifiable reason for deliberately leaving the track’. Not a good weekend for Webber as he also during qualifying was accused of impeding the Marussia of Timo Glock, but the FIA Stewards, after viewing the video and telemetry evidence, decided no impeding had occurred.

But on Sunday Webber lost the one point he had scored by finishing in tenth position, as the FIA Stewards concluded the Australian had left the track while overtaking the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. Webber was handed a post-race drive-through penalty, which meant 20 seconds was added to his elapsed race time and thus the Red Bull driver lost his 10th place.

Michael Schumacher incurred a ten-place grid penalty for the collision with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, both drivers had to retire. A FIA statement read, “The driver admitted the collision was his error due to the failure to anticipate the braking performance of the car with lower tyre grip following a safety car period.”

And last but not least, the numbers one and two in the race, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, were summoned to see the FIA Stewards after Button had complained about Vettel’s sudden braking after the first Safety Car period of the race.

In a statement the FIA Stewards concluded, “An examination of the telemetry overlay for throttle, steering and brake traces of both cars did not indicate any erratic driving behaviour on the part of the race leader.”

Vettel said his sudden braking was not intentional, “You try to warm up your tyres and also try to keep the brakes at the right temperature. So it was possible that he was looking at his steering wheel and I was braking a bit abruptly and then you almost meet at a spot where you both would not want to be.”

Button said after the race it wasn’t a brake test, “Sebastian is not a stupid driver, he knows if he brake tests me we are going to crash. I was not trying to get him penalised, I was just looking for clarification of where we are.”

Belgian GP: Spa-Francorchamps stays almost silent during second practice session

By Berthold Bouman

There was heavy rain again during the second free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon, and again drivers stayed in the garage, pretty much everyone stayed there for the rest of the session, and no driver can really claim first place this afternoon.


After 45 minutes Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the first to venture out onto the soaking wet track, soon followed by team colleague Michael Schumacher, but both drivers returned without completing a lap. Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Bruno Senna (Williams) also tried their luck but came back in without a timed lap. Heikki Kovalainen spun his Caterham at Les Combes and decided to call it a day as well.

Felipe Massa got a new Ferrari engine this afternoon, his fifth of the season and with eight engines allowed for one season he will not receive a penalty. He completed two laps without recording a time, it was just to see if his new engine worked properly.

Times were meaningless this afternoon, but it was Charles Pic in the Marussia who set the fastest time of 2m49.354s, hardy a representative lap, even in the rain. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was the busiest driver this afternoon, he completed five laps and was probably admiring the Ardennes landscape as he recorded a fastest lap of 2m59.125s.

Vitaly Petrov (Caterham), Mark Webber (Red Bull), Pedro de la Rosa (HRT), Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean (both Lotus) didn’t even bother to go out and practised their Twitter skills instead.

British GP: Marussia has major upgrade for Silverstone

By Berthold Bouman

The Anglo-Russian Marussia team is also looking forward to their home Grand Prix at the last year renewed Silverstone circuit. Marussia recently moved their base to Banbury, just 17 miles from the Silverstone track. Not only is Team Principal John Booth looking forward to racing in his backyard, he is also proud his team has now developed their first major car upgrade.

Timo Glock, Marussia

“We have a fairly significant upgrade for this race, comprising a new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods,” said Booth. And he further explained, “I would have to describe this as our ‘first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade of the season’; we’ve had some smaller parts in Malaysia and China, and a few small iterations recently, but this is the first fully developed package that is not just a modification of existing elements.”

Timo Glock, who suffered from a stomach bug in Valencia and therefore was unable to race, is ready for the British Grand Prix. “I can’t wait to get back in the car and work with the team towards a smooth home race for the fantastic British fans,” Glock said.

“We have some substantial upgrade developments which I hope will give us a little step forward and ensure we can have a good showing.” Silverstone is one of his favourite tracks and Glock commented, “Normally it can be very interesting with the weather; not just the sunshine or rain, but it can often be quite windy, which can upset the car quite a lot from day-to-day and from session to session.”

Rookie Charles Pic also loves the track, “I love the fantastic fast corners, particularly from Copse through Becketts and on to Stowe.” He too hopes the upgrades will bring the team the progress they need. “I am now eager to see the new aero package results on the track. It is quite a comprehensive step for the team and the result of a really collaborative effort,” the Frenchman said.

He is also looking forward to race in front of the British fans, “Off-track it is going to be very busy with plenty of PR activity with the partners and our fans, but I know we can expect a massive reception from them, which will give the team an extra boost!”