June 19 2013 Latest news:
Michael Bailey, Formula One correspondent
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Hingham-backed Caterham endured a tough opening race of the Formula One season, and may already have a battle on their hands to fend off Marussia.
Charles Pic, who drove for Caterham’s rivals last year, finished 16th at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix around Albert Park in Melbourne, the opening race of the 2013 season.
That was some way behind the impressive Jules Bianchi, while Pic’s team-mate Giedo van der Garde came home 18th as the final classified finisher behind the second Marussia of Max Chilton.
The two teams were close on pace in qualifying too, so while both outfits enjoyed a two-car finish it will be Caterham who feel they have more work to do ahead of Malaysia this weekend and beyond.
“That wasn’t too bad a race for us,” said Pic. “Of course we’d prefer to finish higher but I think that at this stage of the season this reflects our current performance levels.
“Our pace was OK for the first stint but the tyres dropped off very quickly. In contrast, when we went onto the mediums the degradation levels were very good so we were able to push the second stint much longer than we’d planned, and that gave us a chance to fight.
“Unfortunately towards the end of the race we had a Kers failure that obviously cut our outright pace and prevented us from taking full advantage of the good tyre wear we saw on the primes.
“We know that it’s going to be similar to this for the first few races, but with what we have coming it’s going to be a really interesting season. We have quite a few small details we need to work on for the next race but it’s good to have a real fight on our hands, good for the team and the fans. So let’s see how this progresses.”
Van der Garde added: “For me that was a reasonable start to my F1 career. It was really important to finish my first race and that’s exactly what I did so I’m pretty happy with how it ended up.
“I’ve said all through pre-season that the first races are a chance for me to learn and this was really good for that. I feel good physically and now we have a lot more information about tyre wear and how to manage that, so we’ll take that to next week’s race Malaysia and see what we can do at our first home race of the season.”