Monday, 26 December 2011

Caterham Logos to Appear on Team Lotus’ F1 Cars

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. In 1973, Caterham, which was founded in the 1960s as a Lotus dealer, acquired the rights to build the Seven from Lotus. Now, Team Lotus has purchased Caterham Cars through a holding company, part owned by Malaysian Tony Fernandes.

Starting from the British GP in Silverstone this weekend, the Caterham logo will appear on the sidepods of both Team Lotus F1 cars. Interestingly, this comes 50 years after Lotus’ first win in a Formula 1 Grand Prix (Innes Ireland in the US GP). Earlier this year, Caterham launched its first new model for 15 years, the sports prototype racing car SP/300.R.

This is a monumental occasion for Caterham Cars. We are a niche low-volume sportscar manufacturer and yet we are now a key partner for a Formula One team with an extremely bright future. In terms of global visibility for the Caterham brand, you don't get much better than Formula One. Caterham has a long and distinguished history in grassroots motorsport but this puts the firm in front of a truly global audience to sit alongside major car brands including Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Lotus Renault aim to win Formula 1 title in three years

Lotus have set an ambitious target of winning the world title by 2014 after signing ex-champion Kimi Raikkonen alongside Romain Grosjean for 2012.The team, who are changing their name from Renault for next season, won titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005-06 but were fifth overall in 2011.Team principal Eric Boullier said: "The plan is to be world champions in two or three years' time."That ambition was behind the decision to change both drivers, he added.The Frenchman, who was speaking at a news conference in Paris, admitted that doing so was "not fashionable" but that it "corresponds to owner Genii's desire to become a top team again".

The Pole was badly injured in a rally accident in February and is still not fit enough to drive an F1 car.The team started the season strongly, with a podium for each driver in the first two races, but Renault then slipped down the field.

They finished the season with 73 points, 92 behind fourth-placed Mercedes, who in turn were 213 behind third-placed Ferrari.Heidfeld was replaced by the Brazilian Bruno Senna for the final eight races, but both Senna and Petrov have been dropped for 2012.Raikkonen, who was dropped by Ferrari in favour of Alonso at the end of 2009, returns after an unsuccessful two years in the world rally championship.Grosjean was dropped by Renault at the same time, after an unconvincing half-season alongside Alonso.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Massa left to regret Saturday puncture

Felipe Massa was not able to celebrate his 100th Ferrari Grand Prix in style, finishing fifth at home track Interlagos on Sunday. The Paulista started seventh and seized two places, but was left to lament a puncture which the team discovered 24 hours earlier.

It was a difficult race at the end of a weekend that was not the best from a technical point of view, Massa began.We never managed to find the right balance and then came the sting in the tail of the puncture we discovered yesterday, which robbed me of a set of Softs for the race and thus meant I had to make only two stops.

I knew it would be penalising because I would have to do a lot of laps on the Medium, a tyre with which we have a bigger performance gap than on the Softs when compared to our closest competitors. Sure, I would have liked to celebrate my one hundredth Grand Prix with Ferrari with a much different result, but I have to accept the way things went.

In fact, the race pretty much summed up the season: reasonably good on the Soft, then struggling on the harder compound. It’s been a difficult year for me and the team and now we can turn the page. We must work on improving the car and I will do all I can never to have such a disappointing season again.