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Caterham’s team deserves a load more than the current farce at Leafield

10:11 10 September 2014

Christijan Albers didn

Christijan Albers didn't get to spend very long on the Caterham pit wall.

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The fact is, when Tony Fernandes decided to sell his Caterham Formula One operation, things were going to go one of two ways. Either there was going to be improvement, or the green, one-time Norfolk marque was going to stay where it was – at the bottom of the pile.

Good week, bad week

Pole position – Michael Schumacher: The road remains long and difficult, but it’s wonderful news the German F1 legend is now back home from hospital with his family for the rest of his rehab.

Stalling – team-radio fans: It’s great a lot of the time – but apparently it’s helping the drivers too much as well; cue a possible cutdown on the information drivers receive.

But what I expect every racing fan had their fingers crossed for, was that the Leafield team would not start reflecting what was going on at the last team Colin Kolles was involved with.

Scroll back to 2010, and you will remember that alongside Caterham’s original Lotus Racing guise and Marussia’s Virgin Racing brand, were two other teams to arrive in Formula One on the promise of a tight budget cap and renewed competition.

One of those teams, much like the arrival conditions they were promised, never made it on to the starting grid – although the USA does look set to finally get its team in the not too distant future. About time too, plenty will say.

The team I’ve missed out so far is HRT or Hispania.

"It was awkward for me to hear them booing Nico because I just don’t like that… Once we’re away from the race, we should be nice to everyone"

Quote of the week: Lewis Hamilton on Rosberg’s Monza podium boos

Kolles was team principal and in some ways, much like Caterham, they tried to do things differently by being based in Spain.

Caterham tried it in Norfolk, before deciding it wasn’t working and duly moving alongside most other teams nearer Silverstone – but HRT stuck to their guns and by the time the writing was on the wall, there were random drivers being stuck in the car every race weekend and no clear direction for the team.

Which is why it’s distinctly unimpressive that Caterham suddenly appear to have an appetite for switching drivers every race depending on who can bring a few extra millions with them. As is Sunday’s news team principal Christijan Albers has stepped down after barely two months in the job – even if things, by all accounts, weren’t really working.

It means Caterham have gone from a team still looking capable of improving, to something more akin to an F1 car without its steering wheel.

And that fact is, all those now working their guts out at Leafield deserve far better than that.

Rather than vitriol and anger, I’m finding it almost difficult not to feel sympathy for Nico Rosberg.

Even with the worst of intent, his clash with Hamilton at Spa was hardly the stuff of a villain.

And now, despite apologising and the rather bizarre set of circumstances that followed him around over the weekend at Monza, the German still finished the grand prix stood on the podium – and being booed by F1 fans. So given what Sebastian Vettel had to deal with last season, it seems some of the sport’s supporters are only happy when their jeering.

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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2 comments

  • parkeg1 I tend to agree with you and I fear the demise of Caterham is only a matter of time. When I look back at the heady days of a few years ago sitting at the F1 in Singapore seeing two "Lotus" teams on the track it was good to be able to say they were my "local" teams, but now no more. This year has shown the power element is crucial and even next year if they get the car aerodynamically set-up correct a lack of a good engine unit will still make them struggle. The swapping of drivers and using drivers because of the funds they bring does not work and I thought with Kobayashi they could have used him to help develop the car, but he is guaranteed to start every race. If F1 is serious about being not only for the elitist factory teams they are going to have to spread the money to the smaller teams to make the sport more attractive; otherwise we will end up with the "elite" teams running 3 car teams. I fear we may not have a Caterham F1 team next year at this rate.

    Report this comment

    Jakarta Canary

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

  • This year’s Caterham car is a disaster, its engine problems served up by Renault hasn't helped but the car seems to be below par as its previous cars have been. As I see it the main problem is with the chassis and no amount of aero tweaks will overcome that, and this year we will be see them remain at the bottom of the constructors list. This is a big problem for the new management team as they need to show some improvement to entice new money and I fear that won’t happen. Kolles is a headstrong fool in my opinion and will not have the nous to steer this team into the points, so it has to work on the 2015 car and get the basics right. If they manage to get the chassis right and the Renault sport power unit improves then they can make effective changes with aero tweaks, but as with all F1 teams they first have to encourage money in to be able to afford the improvements. Drivers will be the normal small team fare of money loaded inexperienced young guys who will add nothing much to the development of the car, I can’t see this ending well.

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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