The Norfolk Formula One marques that are due some Silverstone success
PUBLISHED: 23:04 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 23:04 26 June 2013
Home comforts are rarely straight forward in Formula One. For both Lotus and Caterham, this weekend’s British Grand Prix will certainly be the easiest in logistics – for starters the circuit is a handful of miles on the road from their factories, rather than any distance by air.
"We have different driving styles… I feel very slow because I am limited by the car"
Hingham-backed Caterham’s racing licence remains Malaysian, so there’s your usual F1 quirk in that. Yet their new Leafield base is effectively on Silverstone’s doorstep.
As for Hethel-backed Lotus, they switched from a French licence suited to their old Renault guise a couple of years ago – while their long-term Enstone home is one of many for F1 teams in the UK’s racing valley near the British home of motorsport.
Yet for both Norfolk marques, the trip to Silverstone in recent years has been short on genuine success.
Caterham’s two most recent visits to the Northamptonshire border have been uninspiring – and the likelihood is that number three arrives this weekend.
Good week, bad week
• Pole position – Mercedes: Being banned for the young drivers’ test goes down as a decent outcome from the tyre-gate tribunal. What happens now with Pirelli may be of greater interest. We’re still waiting for 2013’s tyre supplier to be confirmed.
• Stalling – Ferrari: Maranello was not best pleased to be dragged into Mercedes’ defence at the hearing in Paris; the fall-out from which is expected to dominate the early exchanges as Formula One arrives at Silverstone.
Indeed, for all the Hingham outfit’s unsubstantiated bravado they brought in their first three years, the realism of 2013 has been as dull as it has equally fruitless.
At least they are avoiding some heavy criticism, I guess.
Caterham know where they are at the moment. They started the season with last year’s car and two inexperienced drivers. Only come the final third of the season can anyone realistically expect Caterham to restore what they will see as their rightful 10th place in the constructors’ championship – something that currently sits one 13th place finish away.
At least both drivers have driven around Silverstone before – something that has regularly proven to help out Giedo van der Garde in his rookie season.
But while Caterham toil away on becoming relevant, Lotus’ sole task this weekend is to stay relevant.
Kimi Raikkonen’s title challenge is derailing faster than the degradation of a super soft tyre.
His run at the start of the season looked truly promising. Now he’s on a sequence of three points from his last two races, while talk of a 2014 move to Red Bull won’t go away.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean once again looks like a broken man. For someone who used to struggle not to smile, he now looks as though he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Yet since Montreal, Enstone has been partially bought by investment group Infinity – definitely not to be confused with Red Bull title sponsor Infiniti. Nothing like a Lotus marque dabbling in some name confusion.
Infinity are promising to take Enstone to top of the pile within 12 months. F1 is littered with empty promises – hopefully this isn’t one of them.
The team also has its biggest upgrade of the season on its way for the British Grand Prix.
So there you have two big reasons to be optimistic and for Kimi to enjoy his ice cream. Maybe we will see Enstone repeat Fernando Alonso’s 2006 Silverstone win for Renault – the last time the team reached the podium in their home race.
Both Lotus and Caterham are due home success – and there is no time like the present to deliver it.
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