2013 Season Preview: Caterham

Caterham:

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One of the disappointments of 2012, Caterham failed to break into the midfield in their third year in the sport. Team principal, Tony Fernandes played up the team’s prospects before the season opener but ate his words once it was clear the Caterham was still well off the pace.

It is rather odd that Caterham has failed to score a point, much less break into the midfield pack. Their facilities, while not world class, are definitely up to par with the best of the midfield teams, and their technical group within the squad is perfectly capable of producing a great car.

The answer to the question as to why this step hasn’t been made is MONEY. Money is the answer to every problem in F1. While many people don’t want or are afraid to admit this, there is no avoiding this truth. Dropping Heikki Kovalainen for 2013 in place of Giedo van Der Garde is testament to this.

Testing has unfortunately revealed the hard truth that Caterham is once again set for a year fighting at the very back of the grid. They only way real progress will be made is if Caterham beat one of the midfield teams, which is almost as likely as the team winning the Constructors’ championship.

Charles Pic:

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Charles Pic has made F1 history for 2013: he is the first rookie to stay a Formula One race driver after debuting with Marussia. It is a small feat for him to not follow in the footsteps of Lucas di Grassi and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

The Frenchman was also the first Marussia driver to really comprehensively beat Timo Glock on a race weekend. He even did it twice in a row. He has proven a quick and reliable driver who can bring the car home in one piece, a great trait to have as a back marker driver.

Charles’ move to Caterham will hopefully further his career. With more potential to succeed in the long run, Caterham is a decent place for him to build a reputation as a quality racing driver. One only hopes that the team won’t be in dire need of massive funding in the immediate future, as it could mean the end of another budding F1 career.

Giedo van der Garde:

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After a solid, if unspectacular, GP2 campaign, the Dutchman has earned his place in at most a back marker team. The man is talented, no doubt, but the nagging feeling that he has made it to Formula One a little too late lingers. The 27-year old is practically ancient compared to the youngsters that are getting their F1 chances in 2013, and Giedo is a bit too old to have a flourishing F1 career.

One could argue that he spent too long in GP2, and that is true to some extent. However, he never really impressed in his four years in the category. A highest finish of 5th in the championship from 2011 is the highlight of his time in GP2.

If Giedo has the intention of moving to a top team at some point in his career, he will need to do something other-worldly with the Caterham this year, otherwise he will most likely be set for a career at the back of the grid.

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