Abiteboul surprised by Caterham problems
28 March 2014 – Caterham Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul has admitted that he is slightly surprised by the problems that his team has encountered across the opening couple of rounds of the 2014 season.
Caterham completed significant running during the pre-season tests compared to their Renault counterparts, but has endured a troublesome time in Australia and in Malaysia.
Neither car made the finish in Australia as Kamui Kobayashi crashed out at the first corner after a brake issue, while Marcus Ericsson's debut came to a premature end due to rising oil pressure. Kobayashi's running in free practice in Malaysia was also truncated by battery issues and an oil leak.
"To be honest we are the first one to be a bit surprised by the situation," said Abiteboul. "It's true that were quite happy with the situation after the test but I think it demonstrates that it’s still a little bit random.
"It’s a bit random for everyone, for all parts of the car, whether it be chassis, gearbox, engine. I think we are just demonstrating that given the number of new things that there are on this car, given the regulations, they do not really send a warning before they hit you and unfortunately they are hitting us more during the season than they were hitting us before.
"We are trying to stay calm, to take things as they come. Obviously we are not in the best position to prepare the weekend. But despite that we managed to have a good recovery last race in Melbourne so hopefully that happens again, even though I don’t want to try my luck too much."
Abiteboul says that the new-for-2014 power units are causing headaches for all of Formula 1's 11 teams.
"[Kobayashi's problems] started with some issue related to the power unit and it actually continued with some issues that are more related to the clutch and gearbox," he added.
"I don’t want to comment too much. It’s all the systems, all the complex systems that are on the car, in addition to the difficult serviceability of the modern cars that makes our life extremely difficult – not just us, pretty much everyone on the grid."