Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Engine Blood's Guide To 2014: Caterham

IN SHORT: Lean, green and departing the scene?

HISTORY: Oh God - do we have to do this again?  OK, deep breath and...  In 2010, F1 expanded its line-up at exactly the wrong time; the global financial situation caused some manufacturer teams to sod off, and Caterham (then called Lotus) answered the call in a roundabout way, as AirAsia maestro Tony Fernandes decided he wanted in to the sport of kings.

Cue several seasons of beating only their fellow 2010 expansioneers, and a car best known for acting as the launchpad for Mark Webber's amateur moon mission in Valencia, until last year's standstill and woeful lack of ambition in the driver employment stakes left them bottom of the stack.  Fernandes says no more: allegedly, it's points this season or die for the delightfully-liveried losers.

THE LOOK:  Just to fill you in, there have been some big changes to powertrain and aerodynamic regulations this year.  We're not going to go into the exact points, because they are boring, but let's just say that the cars will be looking a tad different this year: behold!

Source: F1 Fanatic
Oh.  Our.  Various.  Gods.  That's nasty.

We're going to be seeing some abominations over the next few posts, but we're starting with a proper faith-shaker.  The vaguely obscene protrusion is one of a number of different ways that F1 designers have interpreted a tightening of the regulations that gave us the horrible "stepped noses" from last year; no-one else has gone this route, but if it's successful they'll all follow...  However, as it's Caterham, it won't be, so that at least is one worry off our minds.

ENGINE: Renault.  The first of the 2010 teams to switch from Cosworth, their relationship with the world champion engine designer has been of at least some assistance to them thus far.


9. Marcus ERIKSSON (SWE) - Last year: GP2 (6th, 2 wins, 121 points)

10. Kamui KOBAYASHI (JPN) - Last year: FIA World Endurance Championship (7th, 98 points)

Here's a cause for some celebration: Caterham have managed to attract a half-decent driver in the form of the highly-rated Kamui Kobayashi, who sadly finds himself paying for the privilege of driving a terrible car for the next year.  It'll be great to see him back, but his best case scenario is coming out of this with a shred of dignity and the hope of a better drive.

Marcus Eriksson is a human being of some sort, and there the trail ends.  We hope to bring you more coverage on this no doubt colourful character (let's face it - Formula One drivers are always extremely interesting and well-balanced people!) in an upcoming edition of ENGINE BLOOD!!!

LAST YEAR: 11th (0 points)

Charles PIC (FRA) - 0 points (Best finish: 14th, Malaysia and Korea)
Giedo Van Der GARDE (NED) - 0 points (Best finish: 14th, Hungary)

With not much to talk about from the team's performance last year, let us discuss the drivers they ushered out of the sport at the end of it.  It would be fair to say that Charles Pic did not set the world alight in either of his seasons in F1, but the originally unheralded Giedo Van Der Garde did seem to be improving.  Conventional wisdom said that the much-improved Dutchman should get a second year; conventional wisdom ain't never heard of Tony Fernandes, that's for sure.

PROSPECTS: Bloody awful; how we wish it were not so.

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