Sunday’s Monaco grand prix was potentially a lucrative result for the Caterham team. With actual points still a distant goal for the three backmarker teams, Caterham, Marussia and HRT are instead in a race for the highest classified finish.
Until Monaco, it was Marussia leading the non-points race, thanks to the fourteenth place recorded by Timo Glock in Australia. The German driver did it again in Monaco, but it was Caterham who burst back into lucrative tenth place in the world championship thanks to Heikki Kovalainen’s thirteenth-place finish.
At the end of the season, tenth place is the cut-off for ‘column 1’ teams under the Concorde Agreement, an achievement that last year was reportedly worth almost $30 million to Caterham.
“It’s significant. It’s critical,” said team boss Tony Fernandes.
Not only that, Kovalainen did it in style in Monaco, holding Melbourne winner Jenson Button at bay until the Melbourne winner’s battle ended with a crash.
“Simply great. It was the best feeling I’ve had in these three years in formula one,” Fernandes told the Finnish newspaper.
In contrast, Button was unimpressed, joking that he was relieved when he crashed because the “pain” of battling a defiant backmarker was over.
“There has to be a balance when you’re fighting for twelfth place and I don’t think he had it right, but there you go, that’s racing,” he said.