CATER­HAM

Out of luck be­fore they’d be­gun

F1 Racing - - IN­SIDER -

Oh dear. It’s all fallen apart. The green and yel­low. The Team Lo­tus his­tory. Mike Gas­coyne. The driv­ers-on-merit. The rent-a-driv­ers. The Cater­ham con­nec­tion. The money from Malaysia. All gone.

The re­al­ity is that Cater­ham have gone back­wards this year, de­spite the tal­ents of Ka­mui Kobayashi and GP2-quick Mar­cus Eric­s­son, who man­aged last win­ter to nd ex­ten­sive com­mer­cial back­ing from Swe­den. Lis­ten­ing to Mar­cus down­shift­ing for any given cor­ner gives the game away. He’s so un­sure of what the back end is go­ing to do that he fre­quently se­lects a lower gear than nec­es­sary purely to keep the car in line. It’s painful to hear, but is pre­sum­ably a prod­uct of the car’s chronic lack of sta­bil­ity in the brake-by-wire depart­ment. Which is a shame, be­cause no one likes to see driv­ers of this cal­i­bre strug­gling. I still think Ka­mui could play a strong sup­port role in a de­cent team – Wil­liams, for ex­am­ple, or Toro Rosso – and we shouldn’t dis­miss driv­ers as quick as Eric­s­son when they do man­age to hook a spon­sor. Given the way F1 con­tin­ues to pro­vide lit­tle or no TV ex­po­sure for the mid­field or lower teams, how­ever, it’s now en­tirely up to the driv­ers to find the spon­sor­ship.

What the next in­car­na­tion of Cater­ham will be like re­mains to be seen. Prob­a­bly, it will be leaner, the money more se­cure, the debt lower. Cater­ham were con­ceived in 2009 as a bud­get-cap team. Per­haps at last we’ll start to see some sen­si­ble or­ganic growth.

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