Formula 1 2013 team guide: Caterham

The Tony Fernandes-owned team is the most successful of Formula 1's recent new entrants, but going into 2013 they're still yet to score a Championship point

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Founded: 2009

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Based: Leafield

Constructors’ titles: 0

Drivers’ titles: 0

Engine: Renault

2012 Championship position: 10th

Team principal: Cyril Abiteboul

Technical director: Mark Smith

Drivers: Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde

Three years into their grand Formula 1 project, Caterham are very much a work in progress. Hanging on to the lucrative 10th place – just – in 2012 masks the fact that development has been markedly less impressive than team owner Tony Fernandes would have hoped he first dipped his toe into motorsport.

Originally racing under the Lotus name in 2010 and 2011, the Caterham brand was adopted for the start of the 2012 season. The team will be working hard to make sure that naming themselves after a build-your-own sports car doesn’t actually mean they lumber themselves with a glorified kit car.

The Norfolk-based engineers however can be proud of the fact that they have continued to be the most successful of the raft of new teams to enter Formula 1. Their performance provides them Column 1 status, meaning they benefit from a greater slice of Formula 1 revenues. 2013 will be another battle to maintain that standing, never mind aiming for their first F1 points.

Perhaps surprisingly, the team chose to offload their experienced former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen in favour of rookie driver Giedo van der Garde this season. Like their rivals Marussia, the hoary argument over ‘pay drivers’ reared its ugly head again during preseason.

The team’s youth doesn’t stop with its two drivers: Cyril Abiteboul is Formula 1’s youngest Team Principal, having joined Caterham from Renault Sport F1.

Preparation for the 2013 season was underwhelming, with the car running three to four tenths of a second off the pace. Along with Williams, the FIA ruled Caterham’s exhaust vanes illegal, and the team eventually gave in to pressure and reverted to a more conventional design in time for the season opener at Australia.

Despite these preseason niggles, the aim is still to build upon their financial platform, keep rivals Marussia in their wing mirrors, and earn those all-important first Championship points.

Did you know?

Team owner Tony Fernandez is also the owner of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.

Ugly duckling

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Caterham are one of the only teams not to design a new “vanity panel” to cover the ungainly stepped bodywork on the car’s front nose.