Season Preview: Caterham

After entering the sport as Lotus Racing in 2010 and quickly establishing itself as the best of the three new teams that joined the grid that year, hopes were high that Caterham would be able to push forward and break into the midfield last season.

However, that didn’t materialise and instead of moving forward, the team actually went backwards during 2012 and only beat rivals Marussia to tenth in the championship in the final race of last season.

With Caterham releasing two established drivers in Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in favour of the less experienced Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, both of whom bring money to the team, the year looks set to be a testing one for the Leafield outfit.

And with the new car looking like the slowest on the grid in pre-season testing, Caterham will be having to put a lot of faith in their young driver line-up to deliver the goods as they look to retain tenth place in the championship ahead of Marussia.

20) Charles Pic

Charles Pic has joined Caterham after a promising debut season with Marussia, in which he regularly matched the pace of highly rated teammate Timo Glock.

The 23-year-old was arguably the most impressive rookie in 2012 and he will be hoping to impress at his new team as he aims to put himself in the shop window and catch the eye of some of the bigger names in the sport.

Despite a difficult time in testing in which his new car has struggled to keep up with the rest of the field, Pic is a solid driver and is someone who can be relied on to bring the car home in one piece.

The Frenchman beat teammate Giedo van der Garde when the pair drove for the Barwa Addax team in GP2 two years ago, and with Pic having a year’s advantage in competing in Formula One, he will be confident of establishing himself as the number one driver at Caterham.

21) Giedo van der Garde

It’s strange in many ways that it has taken until now for Giedo van der Garde to break into Formula One.

The Dutchman, a veteran of the feeder series, has always been a competitive driver in the junior formulae and, in addition to winning the World Series by Renault title in 2008, has regularly scored podiums and wins in GP2.

van der Garde was a reserve driver for Caterham last season, and with his huge amount of single-seater racing experience, should be able to make the transition to Formula One fairly easily and will be eager to get revenge on teammate Pic for beating him in GP2 in 2011.

Despite substantial funding allowing him to secure the race seat, there is no doubt that van der Garde deserves a chance in Formula One and expectations will be high for the Dutchman to perform immediately.

Hopes for the season
As one of the two main backmarker teams, the primary objective for Caterham will be to beat Marussia to tenth in the constructors’ championship. With the team appearing to have gone backwards in terms of car development and Marussia now running KERS, it is a fight that will be much tougher for the team than in previous seasons.

As with Marussia, the monkey on Caterham’s back is the team’s failure to score a point since joining the sport three years ago. However, despite the pressure on the team to finally get a top ten finish, luck will have to be on Caterham’s side if they are to achieve it.

Stephen D’Albiac

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