Feature: Bidding farewell to Caterham

Feature: Bidding farewell to Caterham

6 March 2015 – Formula 1 lined up with 11 teams in 2014, but this year will see only 10 enter the championship. GPUpdate.net reflects on Caterham – née Lotus Racing and Team Lotus – and its time in the top echelon.

Formula 1 history is littered with defunct racing teams and the latest to join the unhappy pile is Caterham, which competed for five years under three different guises but was unable to claim a solitary top 10 finish.

Caterham began life under the banner of Lotus Racing, after a collaboration between Litespeed and Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes resulted in the team securing one of the vacant slots on the 2010 Formula 1 grid.

Lotus Racing managed to get its two cars – which used Cosworth engines and Xtrac gearboxes – ready in time and arrived in Bahrain as the new team in the best shape, as both Hispania and Virgin Racing struggled.

Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli spent much of the campaign a little clear of the Hispania/Virgin battle but significantly behind the midfield crop. A couple of accidents – Kovalainen being hit by Webber at Valencia and Trulli's crash with Karun Chandhok in Monaco – gained the team some attention, albeit unwanted.

Kovalainen's 12th place finish in Japan nonetheless secured 10th position in the Constructors' standings for the squad and earned it the mantle of the best new team.

The team name was tweaked to Team Lotus for 2011, Renault supplied engines and a new technical partnership with Red Bull Technology was formed but the squad stagnated. Despite a few brief glimmers of hope – such as the occasional Q2 appearance – Trulli's pair of 13th places proved the highlight as the team secured 10th in the championship once again.

The year, however, was marred by a messy affair over the rights to the 'Lotus' moniker, with the team eventually opting to re-name as Caterham for 2012, after Fernandes' acquisition of the company.

Vitaly Petrov replaced Trulli and the car was reliable but lacking in pace as neither he nor Kovalainen were able to challenge for points. Indeed, an improving Marussia threatened Caterham's position courtesy of Timo Glock's 12th position in Singapore.

But Petrov finished 11th at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to claw back 10th in the Constructors' championship from its rivals.

Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic were recruited for 2013 but a slow start proved costly as Marussia's Jules Bianchi claimed what would be a vital 13th in Malaysia. Caterham hired Kovalainen back as a test driver to aid development and, while the car improved sufficiently for Van der Garde and Pic to regularly outrace Marussia, they couldn't beat Bianchi's early result.

Van der Garde's inspired tyre choice during changeable weather in Q1 at Spa-Francorchamps enabled him to finish third in that session – a rare highlight of a difficult season as the team brought up the foot of the table.

Another all new line-up arrived in the form of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson but 2014 proved to be a turbulent final campaign for Caterham as Fernandes followed through with his threat to quit the team if results did not improve.

The outfit's CT05 chassis was weak and, allied to Renault's problems, it left them playing catch-up. Ericsson finished 11th in Monaco but his result was bittersweet as rival Marussia claimed its first points with a ninth-place finish courtesy of Bianchi.

The ownership changed hands mid-season but the situation remained unclear with both parties exchanging barbs in unceremonious fashion. The team entered administration and missed two races but returned for one – and as it turned out, final – race in Abu Dhabi at the behest of the administrators and courtesy of a crowdfunding effort, with Kobayashi and Will Stevens at the wheel.

But its 11th position in the Constructors' championship for a second successive campaign severely dented its hopes of a revival and, after several fruitless months, the administrators threw in the towel and put the assets up for auction, thus signalling the end of the road once and for all.

Caterham ended its Formula 1 journey having entered 94 races with 10 different drivers – a further eight competed only in practice sessions, with four more participating in testing. It achieved a best grid slot of 14th (twice) and a highest finish of 11th position (again, twice). 

It has joined more famous outfits on the scrapheap but during a five-year stint in the sport earned a legion of supporters, brought a bit of fun to the paddock and was always welcoming.

Thanks, 'team green'.

Written by: Phillip Horton

See photo gallery:
Caterham's Formula 1 journey

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 19 February 2018

  2. 15:02

    Why AI could be F1's next big thing

    F1
  3. 15:00

    Ricciardo shakes down RB14 at Silverstone

    F1
  4. 14:58

    Red Bull reveals its 2018 Formula 1 car

    F1
  5. Sunday 28 January 2018

  6. Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo 09:12

    Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo

    Go behind-the-scenes with Jenson Button during his birthday celebrations at Big Bear Lake, before he is joined by Red Bull ace…

    F1
  7. Saturday 27 January 2018

  8. Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying 14:18

    Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying

    Watch behind the scenes as the United Autosports team qualify for the endurance challenge at Daytona, with Fernando Alonso…

    Misc
  9. Friday 26 January 2018

  10. Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull 15:59

    Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull

    The latest personality to get behind the wheel of the state-of-the-art simulator at Red Bull's Milton Keynes HQ is none other…

    F1
  11. Thursday 25 January 2018

  12. Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time 12:46

    Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time

    Pierre Gasly believes Toro Rosso-Honda must ensure it establishes a reliable base early on, in order to maximise track time…

    F1
  13. Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch 08:10

    Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch

    Yamaha Racing and Yamaha Music Italy's newly composed soundtrack introduce the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1s.

    MotoGP
  14. Wednesday 24 January 2018

  15. Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability 14:46

    Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says repeating his reliability record in Formula 1 this year will be tricky, but believes…

    F1
  16. Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo 10:48

    Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo

    Catch up with Jenson Button in his latest vlog entry as he jets from Los Angeles to Tokyo for the launch of Honda's Super GT…

    Misc
  17. Tuesday 23 January 2018

  18. Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch 13:47

    Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch

    Movistar Yamaha gets ready for its 2018 team launch, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales set to take the wraps off its…

    MotoGP
  19. Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up 13:39

    Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up

    Anthoine Hubert says winning the GP3 title is his target for the 2018 season after confirmation that the Frenchman will remain…

    GP3
  20. Monday 22 January 2018

  21. Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition 13:24

    Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition

    Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola says he doubts that Formula 1 will ever return to competition between two tyre manufacturers…

    F1
  22. Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role 09:32

    Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role

    Robert Kubica talks about joining the Williams team and what his reserve and development driver role will involve through the…

    F1
  23. Sunday 21 January 2018

  24. Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team 12:52

    Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team

    Jake Hughes will return to the GP3 Series this year after signing a deal to compete for the championship's dominant force ART…

    GP3
  25. Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview 09:46

    Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview

    Next weekend marks the start of the 2018 World Rally Championship with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo; get set for the…

    Misc
  26. Saturday 20 January 2018

  27. New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe 10:44

    New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe

    New York will host the final round of this year's Formula E championship after series organisers opted not to replace the…

    FE
  28. Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10 09:19

    Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10

    Watch as Force India puts Sergio Pérez's VJM10, used throughout the course of the 2017 season, into retirement, with the car…

    F1
  29. Friday 19 January 2018

  30. 15:02

    Overview: 2018 Formula 1 grid line-up in full

    F1
  31. Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts 11:19

    Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts

    Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are going a little stir crazy waiting for Formula 1 to return - and take to…

    F1
  32. Thursday 18 January 2018

  33. Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART 09:27

    Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART

    Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell will graduate to Formula 2 with ART in 2018. Russell, 19, stormed to last year's…

    F2
  34. Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness 09:07

    Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness

    Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger will sit out the 2018 MotoGP season, having struggled to recover physically and mentally after…

    MotoGP
  35. Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments 07:02

    Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments

    Watch every crash, spin, slide and save from last weekend's Marrakesh round of the all-electric Formula E championship.

    FE
  36. Wednesday 17 January 2018

  37. Chaves unconcerned by one-car Harding entry 16:32

    Chaves unconcerned by one-car Harding entry

    Gabby Chaves has played down suggestions that Harding's one-car effort could prove to be disadvantageous, pointing to the…

    Indy
  38. Kari stays in GP3, switches to MP Motorsport 10:06

    Kari stays in GP3, switches to MP Motorsport

    Niko Kari will continue in the GP3 Series this year, having switched from Arden to category newcomers MP Motorsport. Formula…

    GP3
  39. Tuesday 16 January 2018

  40. Fenestraz joins Carlin for Formula 3 campaign 13:54

    Fenestraz joins Carlin for Formula 3 campaign

    Formula Renault champion Sacha Fenestraz will contest this year's European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin. Fenestraz…

    F3
  41. Kubica gets development role with Williams 11:32

    Kubica gets development role with Williams

    Robert Kubica has landed a role as Williams' reserve and development driver for 2018, which will involve test and practice runs…

    F1
  42. Williams confirms Sirotkin for 2018 seat 11:18

    Williams confirms Sirotkin for 2018 seat

    Williams has announced that Sergey Sirotkin will partner Lance Stroll for the 2018 campaign, with Robert Kubica, on the comeback…

    F1
  43. Video: Rosberg's Twitter Q&A with fans 08:42

    Video: Rosberg's Twitter Q&A with fans

    2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg responds to a variety of questions posed by fans on Twitter.

    F1
  44. Monday 15 January 2018

  45. Aitken secures Formula 2 step with ART GP 18:30

    Aitken secures Formula 2 step with ART GP

    Renault junior driver Jack Aitken will graduate to Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix this season, the French team has…

    F2
  46. Bird feared Marrakesh retirement amid issues 15:10

    Bird feared Marrakesh retirement amid issues

    DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird feared mechanical gremlins would force him out of the Marrakesh ePrix, as he collected a podium…

    FE
  47. Ducati launches its 2018 programme, livery 11:52

    Ducati launches its 2018 programme, livery

    Ducati has become the first team to launch its 2018 MotoGP programme, taking the wraps off its Desmosedici GP at its Bologna…

    MotoGP
  48. Ticktum heads 2018 Red Bull junior line-up 10:16

    Ticktum heads 2018 Red Bull junior line-up

    Red Bull has announced its junior programme line-up for 2018, with Macau Grand Prix victor Dan Ticktum leading the six-driver…

    F1
  49. Racing legend and pioneer Gurney passes away 09:08

    Racing legend and pioneer Gurney passes away

    American racing legend Dan Gurney has passed away aged 86, his family has announced, due to complications arising from…

    F1
  50. Video: Formula E drivers react to Marrakesh 09:02

    Video: Formula E drivers react to Marrakesh

    Formula E drivers offer their three-word reaction to the Marrakesh ePrix, after varying fortunes up and down the grid at the…

    FE
  51. Sunday 14 January 2018

  52. Audi's Müller tops Formula E's rookie test 18:20

    Audi's Müller tops Formula E's rookie test

    Audi's Nico Müller clocked record pace as he comfortably topped Formula E's one-day rookie test in Morocco. Formula E…

    FE
  53. Buemi: Fanboost issue contributed to defeat 15:56

    Buemi: Fanboost issue contributed to defeat

    Sébastien Buemi pinpointed an issue with Fanboost as a contributing factor to his defeat at the Marrakesh ePrix. Buemi…

    FE
  54. Rosenqvist hails Mahindra, plays down title lead 13:08

    Rosenqvist hails Mahindra, plays down title lead

    Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist praised his squad for a pre-race battery change at the Marrakesh ePrix, which he went on to win, and…

    FE
  55. Video: Marrakesh E-Prix race highlights 07:47

    Video: Marrakesh E-Prix race highlights

    Watch race highlights from the Marrakesh E-Prix, the third round of the 2017/18 Formula E championship.

    FE
  56. Saturday 13 January 2018

  57. Rosenqvist overhauls Buemi for Marrakesh win 17:03

    Rosenqvist overhauls Buemi for Marrakesh win

    Mahindra's Felix Rosenqvist made it back-to-back victories as he overhauled long-time race leader Sébastien Buemi to triumph at…

    FE
more news