In 2010 two budget Airline moguls entered Formula One teams for the first time, one was Malaysian Tony Fernandes who headed a consortium under the Lotus Racing banner with the blessing of Lotus owners Proton and the other was Richard Branson who entered his team under the Virgin Racing banner.
At the beginning to the 2010 season Fernandes and Branson made a bet that which ever owner finished lowest in the Constructors Championship would join the aircrew of the others airline for a day dressed as a hostess. Richard lost the bet and last year finally got togged up as an Air Aisa Stewardess.
Fast forward to 2013 and Fernandes team is still on the grid having changed it’s name to Team Lotus in 2011, and then to Caterham in 2012 after Fernandes bought the Caterham Cars company and Proton let the Genii Capital led consortium which runs the old Renault Team use the Lotus name.
In 2011 Tony’s team managed to secure a supply of Renault motors as used by Red Bull, and the following season Williams in favour of the Cosworth units they had used in their first season. However they finished both the 2011 and 2012 seasons 10th in the championship standings on best finishes, having failed to score a world championship point in their entire history.
Mark Smith was responsible for the design of the Caterham Renault CT03 used by the team in 2013 which was not too dissimilar to the 2012 CT01 designed by Mike Gascoyne.
Frenchman Charles Pic, see second photo, moved over to Caterham from Richard Branson’s old team, rebranded Marussia in 2012, to be joined by Dutchman Giedio van der Garde, seen above for the driving duties.
The Caterham team’s highlights in 2013 season were two 14th place finishes at the Hungarian Grand Prix for Giedo and at the Korean Grand Prix for Charles.
Despite not having the slowest car, Giedo qualified a team best ever 14th in Belgium, the Caterham team could not better the 13th place finish recorded by Jules Bianchi driving a Marussia in the 2013 Malasian Grand Prix and so Caterham finished the 2013 season last in the constructors championship with their first wooden spoon.
For 2014 Caterham will again be relying on Renault for their turbocharged primary motors but have yet to make any announcement regarding their drivers at least one of whom is expected to be a well known “star”. You can stay abreast of developments at Caterham on their official website linked here.
Thanks for joining me on this “First Wooden Spoon” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow on the streets of Toronto. Don’t forget to came back now !