Caterham remove dubious exhaust

Caterham has followed Williams’ lead by removing a dubious solution for its Coanda-effect exhaust from its 2013 car.

Williams tweaked the specification of its FW35 as last week’s testing concluded, and on Thursday – as the final days of running in Barcelona began – it was clear Caterham was also now fielding a more conventional design.

In the green car, Frenchman Charles Pic ended Thursday’s running a half-second behind the Marussia.

In Speed Week, technical expert Gary Anderson said the black and red Lotus is offering drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean “outstanding” traction.

“In that respect,” he said, “the Caterham is the opposite of a Lotus.”

Source:GMM

Van der Garde insists Caterham exhaust is legal

After Williams removed its controversial solution for the ‘Coanda’-effect exhaust late last week, heads are now turning in Caterham’s direction.

Williams’ move to remove the solution reportedly followed the FIA’s Charlie Whiting telling team designer Mike Coughlan at Jerez that he deemed it illegal. But while Williams’ solution attempted to find a loophole in the regulations, Coughlan said recently he thought Caterham’s similar approach is “clearly not allowed”.

A Caterham spokesman said: “We are continuing to evaluate a range of options at the pre-season tests as per our normal programme.”

But the team’s new Dutch racer Giedo van der Garde is not so sure that means Caterham will remove the solution.

“I am told that it is legal, so I am not worried,” he is quoted by the Dutch magazine Formule1. “I expect to find the same exhaust on the car in Barcelona.”

The third and final four-day pre-season test begins on Thursday.

Source:GMM

Marussia ‘ahead of Caterham’ – Chilton

Marussia looks set to begin the 2013 season with the upper hand over its usual rival Caterham.

Since F1’s youngest teams entered the sport in 2010, Caterham has always finished the constructors’ world championship with the lucrative tenth place. That could change this year.

“It’s good that we find ourselves ahead of Caterham again,” Max Chilton, who drove Marussia’s new car on all four days at Jerez last week, said as the test ended.

Ted Kravitz, the pit reporter for British broadcaster Sky, agreed that Caterham’s 2013 single seater “doesn’t seem to be too good”.

He expects Marussia to have the upper hand at the initial four-race ‘flyaway’ races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain.

“I think we should only judge them (Caterham) when they put the upgrade package on for the first European race in Barcelona,” Kravitz said on Sky Sports F1 HD television.

Source:GMM

Abiteboul: Kovalainen could have new Caterham role

Caterham has left open the door for “a different project” with ousted number 1 race driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted that, while bringing in a pay-driver was another consideration, Finn Kovalainen’s relationship with Caterham soured after their three years together.

“I think at a certain point at the end of last season, maybe there was not the sort of trust and confidence and respect – on both sides – that you should be counting on for the development of the team and driver,” he told Britain’s Sky broadcaster.

“It’s like with your girlfriend or wife — sometimes when you disappoint too much, you know the relationship is just … broken,” added Abiteboul.

Nonetheless, Abiteboul said it is possible Kovalainen, 31, will continue to work with Caterham in another capacity.

“We continue to have discussions with Heikki to see if a different project could be possible,” he said. “Let’s be honest: we’d be keen to keep experience in our lineup. That’s something we’d both be interested in under the right conditions.”

Source:GMM

Panis: Renault link key to Pic’s Caterham move

Caterham’s links with French manufacturer Renault was key to Charles Pic’s Marussia switch.

That is the claim of Olivier Panis, the former grand prix winner who is now deeply involved with the management of countryman Pic’s F1 career.

Some raised their eyebrows when Pic, 22, agreed to switch from Marussia to Caterham – both similarly-matched backmarker teams – for the 2013 season.

“We were very pleased with the collaboration with Marussia,” Panis insisted to the Russian website f1news.ru.

“But for the future we wanted to have a serious partner, and when a company like Renault wants to work with you – we hope for many years – it is impossible to say no,” added the former BAR and Toyota driver. “So this was the main reason.”

Meanwhile, Panis said Pic is happy to be paired with Giedo van der Garde this year, after the highly experienced and rated Heikki Kovalainen was ousted.

“Last year Charles learned a lot from Timo (Glock), so now I think that factor is not so important. Personally, I don’t mind. An experienced teammate is fine, but we are happy with Giedo. He also deserves a chance to show what he can do,” said Panis.

Source:GMM

Brighter Caterham sparks first controversy of 2013

When Caterham unveiled its 2013 car in the Jerez pitlane early on Tuesday, observers immediately spotted the ‘step’ nose and a new, brighter livery.

“Cool!” said Dutch rookie Giedo van der Garde when asked what he thinks of the new green hue. “Last year it was a little too dark, which sometimes didn’t look good on TV,” he told Dutch magazine Formule1. “We have had a good response so far.”

The next most noticeable feature of the CT03 is its nose, still ‘stepped’ as in 2012 despite the FIA allowing teams to smooth it with a ‘vanity panel’ in 2013.

“This is the package we will bring to Australia,” technical director Mark Smith is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.

Van der Garde was happy with his first day of work on Tuesday.

“It feels different (compared to the 2012 car),” said the 27-year-old, who last year completed the championship as Caterham’s Friday practice driver. “The front feels good, gives me a good feeling. But so far the back is not to my liking.

“I have nothing to complain about. We knew in advance that our expectations are not too high and we would not suddenly be right in the middle of the pack.”

But Caterham has not sent out the best message of financial health by ousting its highly rated salaried driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Finland’s MTV3: “Kovalainen deserves to be in formula one in his own right.

“It’s a shame that the financial situation is requiring teams to have drivers with a budget, but unfortunately that’s the way formula one has been for at least 30 years.”

However, Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul insisted: “Our team is in a healthy position.

“We are still a small team,” he is quoted by Blick newspaper, “but our goal is to be the most efficient team in formula one.”

According to one publication, the CT03 is not lacking in innovation, with one aspect of its exhaust solution already raising eyebrows.

“There is one feature of the Caterham’s exhaust that I don’t think will be there when we get to Melbourne,” Lotus’ James Allison said.

Racecar Engineering magazine said the feature in doubt is a ‘flow-conditioner’ in the exhaust channel, which may fall foul of technical regulation 5.8.4.

Source:GMM

Caterham to launch at Jerez

Caterham’s 2013 car will emerge on the first day of winter testing at Jerez.

The team, tenth in last year’s championship, announced on Monday that the new car will be called CT03, even though the 2012 single seater was the CT01.

“The first road car from our partnership with Renault is CT02, hence CT03. Simple!” Caterham said on Twitter.

It will be launched on 5 February, which is the opening day of the first official pre-season test in southern Spain.

“Caterham … will commence its programme immediately after taking the wraps off its new car,” the team added in a statement.

Source:GMM

Gascoyne: Lack of ‘respect’ harmed Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen harmed his chances of staying in Formula One beyond 2012 by demonstrating a lack of “respect” to Caterham – that is the claim of Mike Gascoyne, the team’s former technical boss who now oversees the technical operations of the entire Caterham Group.

After three years at the back of the grid with Caterham, Finn Kovalainen – now managed by IMG – attempted to secure a better seat for 2013 but ultimately now faces dropping out of F1 altogether. Gascoyne confirmed speculation Caterham is considering replacing the 31-year-old with a so-called ‘pay driver’.

“We realise what the game is,” he told the motor sport news website crash.net. “People (teams) boom and bust easily. 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 said.

It is believed the favourites to become Frenchman Charles Pic’s teammate this year are Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna.

“It is actually a great shame,” Gascoyne said. “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.”

Source:GMM

Caterham not ready to complete 2013 lineup

Caterham is still not yet ready to announce its full 2013 driver lineup.

The team has already filled one of this year’s race seats with 2012 Marussia rookie and Frenchman Charles Pic. Rumours on Thursday suggested an announcement about his teammate was imminent, with Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov thought to be the front-runners.

Russian Petrov’s teammate last year was Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

As for Thursday’s rumblings about an imminent announcement, Finnish MTV3 commentator Oskari Saari said: “It was just a rumour then.

“Caterham says nothing is being announced in the foreseeable future as all options are still being explored.”

Source:GMM

Sources say Petrov to keep Caterham seat

‘Russian sources’ report that Vitaly Petrov is set to keep his Caterham seat for 2013, the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat claims.

Already this week, the 28-year-old’s manager Oksana Kosachenko revealed that “all the necessary work on our part is done — and it’s for Caterham to decide”.

Petrov’s teammate in 2012 was Finn Heikki Kovalainen, but Caterham has already announced that Charles Pic will be driving one of the green-liveried cars next year.

Among the other candidates to be Pic’s 2013 teammate are Giedo van der Garde, Bruno Senna and Luiz Razia.

Turun Sanomat quotes Kosachenko as saying: “I believe Vitaly’s race in Brazil securing tenth place in the manufacturers’ championship helps us to stay where we were.”

Also playing in Petrov’s favour is a recent visit to Caterham’s headquarters of his sponsor Russian Helicopters, and Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to have a local driver on the grid when Russia hosts its inaugural grand prix in 2014.

Organisers of the 2014 race in Sochi said this week that construction of the track is now in “high gear”.

Source:GMM