Caterham’s team deserves a load more than the current farce at Leafield
10:11 10 September 2014
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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"
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