F1 Launch Season – Part 4 – Caterham & Marussia

Part four of my blog, focusing this time on the two remaining teams, Caterham & Marussia, and their drivers for the 2013 Formula 1 season, finding out who’ll be under pressure.  Neither of these two teams have ever scored points since they arrived in the sport in 2010. HRT would have been included here but folded just after the end of the 2012 season.

CATERHAM RENAULT CT03
20. Charles Pic – France
21. Giedo van der Garde – Italian or Bruno Senna – Brazil.

Its a year of change for the Caterham team, Heikki Kovalainen has left the team, and Vitaly Petrov looks like hes swapping over to Marussia.  The CT03, released on the 5th February, sees Charles Pic joins the team from Marussia complete with his money.  However he was impressive in his debut year and can hope to build on that this time around.  The only real pressure will be from within his team, as most outsiders won’t expect much from either Caterham driver.  To score points must be the aim, the team cannot keep fighting for 12ths or lower anymore.

caterham-f1-2012-season-review-44883-image1

Its a few weeks before the season, and even closer to launch and pre-season testing, yet Caterham have yet to announce Pic’s teammate.  All winter long it seemed to be a straight fight between 2012 driver Petrov and Dutch driver GP2 driver Giedo van de Garde.  However it appears Bruno Senna might get the drive ahead of both of them.  Senna needs to prove to the F1 fraternity that he has the speed and fight to be a top driver in F1.  He’s raced for Hispania, Renault & Williams but has rarely had a race where you could say, wow, Senna did well.

If Caterham go for Van der Garde, they have the opportunity to build the team around two young drivers who are highly rated.  Van der Garde has been linked to F1 teams for years, but has yet to step up to the top level.  If chosen, he’ll need to prove to Caterham that their investment in him during the past few years in junior categories has been worth it.

MARUSSIA COSWORTH MR02
22. Vitaly Petrov –
Russia, or Luiz Razia – Brazil or ?
23. Max Chilton – Great Britain

A few weeks ago, it seemed sure that Marussia had completed their line-up, with GP2 driver Max Chilton stepping up to team up with German Timo Glock.  However, it’s all fallen apart with Glock disappearing to DTM, leaving Chilton the only confirmed driver there.  He’s got a hefty financial package that has brought him to the team, but has won races in GP2 proving he’s got the talent as well.  He’ll not be under pressure for as long as the money keeps coming in.

maru-pic-shan-2012

Like Caterham, the second driver has yet to be announced, but unlike Caterham, neither has the launch date of their MR02.  Whoever comes into the second seat is going to be under pressure, though they are likely to be bringing in the cash like Chilton is.  Petrov would be joining his third F1 team, while Razia would be stepping up from GP2.  Whether the team wants two rookie drivers is another story. It still could be someone else of course.

CONCLUSIONS

To begin with, both teams are under pressure to score points. They’ve been in F1 for three years and never scored anything, and have been about a second behind the rest of the field at least.  Charles Pic and Max Chilton are both young and potentially good drivers, they just need to apply their trade in a way that keeps the sponsors and the teams happy, and they’ll be fine.  Their respective teammates will all be bringing cash to the table too.  Its a shame F1 is like that for the smaller teams, its cost both Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock their jobs over the winter.  Any driver that comes in are going to struggle to be as highly-rated as those two drivers.

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